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Using Winter Liquids

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Winterologist, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Winterologist

    Winterologist Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    *Anybody in the snow & ice control business that spreads rock salt AND doesn't know that he's already using winter liquids needs to re-educate himself/herself.

    Remember this ...salt does NOTHING on the pavement. When precipitation starts to hit that salt crystal it starts forming a brine (about 23.3% - yes, the same brine that you hear DOT's, etc manufacturing for use). Brine does all the hard work on the pavement, NOT solid rock salt.

    Natural well brines are also frequently used for deicing. These natural occurring chloride brines are predominately Calcium and Magnesium rich. Michigan seems to be blessed with a natural blend heavy on Calcium: States further East or West from there seem to carry a more predominence of Magnesium. The Calcium to Magnesium to Sodium to Potassium ratios vary somewhat from well to well and from State to State. Typical "chloride concentrations" are in the mid-20% range, but concentrations, both lower and higher, do occur. Natural well brines are typically "hotter" than rock salt (sodium chloride) brines, and work at lower temperatures. This is why many are starting to blend natural brines with manufactured brines - it makes regular salt brine work at lower temps ...great for anti-icing or prewetting at the spinner.

    The next thing to remember is ...ALL liquid deicers work! However, they all have their own chemical characteristics. Chlorides are by far the most commonly used deicers in the snowbelt. Sodium (rock salt) is plentiful, relatively inexpessive, and is tough on metals.It has a limited useful temperature range. A pound of salt @ 30F will melt 46 lbs og ice in 5 minuted, BUT that same one pound of salt @ 15F melts only 6 lbs of ice IN AN HOUR! Most are looking for some "results" from that salt-spreader ...its easy to see why salt gets soooo abused. Calcium has a really low working temp, BUT is somewhat compromised by higher corrosion rates and refreeze issues (= re-application issues), Mag works at lower temps than Sodium, but is tough on concrete (Dr.Sutter/Michigan Tech pooled fund study regarding common deicers effects on concrete). Calcium & Mag chloride brines have been used on dirt/stone roads for 100 years. WHY? ...because they're hygroscopic - they pull moisture out of the air (humidity, dew, fog, etc) and THAT'S what keeps the dirt down. This chemical trait has caused a few issues over the years when used as deicers. That same hygroscopic characteristic has caused some pavements to become very slippery. It's a rare condition with longer periods of high humidity prior to thae start of an event - just be cognizant of it.

    (Sugar) beet juice seems to be a catagory by itself. Yes, there are MANY chloride-based concoctions out there and they all work. Many have organic corrosion inhibitors in them to battle the nature of all chloride technologies. Lately some are questioning how long the inhibitors work, given the fact that the higher surface tensions of Calcium & Mag seem to make their chemistries stick around for longer periods. Beet juice is NEVER used by itself, but is always mixed with salt or blended with brines. Beet juice and rock salt brines are gaining a lot of favor since it doesn't contain much of the more environmental / infrastructure sensative heavier chlorides, yet it still works at fairly cold temperatures, and doesn't possess near the refreezing issues. But what about the aroma? There are all kinds of organics being used now - from cheese waste to grain alcohol waste to corn to sugar beets and everything in-between. Some are rather odiferous, some are not quite so bad. Remember, you're working with them outside where its 15F, not indoors where it 65F. Some have started adding a "citrus-based scent" to control areas like sidewalks near buildings - not out on the open road. Suggest about 1gal per 1,000gal blended product to make it smell like oranges for example.

    MOST IMPORTANT: It’s not the physical state of the de-icer, it is the delivery system. If you didn’t deliver it right, it didn’t work. If it didn’t work, it’s because you didn’t deliver it right. Calibrated equipment and the delivery of the right product, at the right time, in the right place is critical! Use local materials, but learn to use them, not abuse them. If you haven't used winter liquids before, consider them for anti-icing or prewetting. If you did use them before, but gave up on them - YOU made a mistake somewhere - learn from it, and figure out how to get it right. Winter liquids will have all of us putting less total chlorides into the environment / infrastructure and still be able to raise our level of service.

    Now, let's get ready for winter!
  2. ChlorideGuy

    ChlorideGuy Member
    Messages: 77

    Very Nice!!!!


    You sir are very Informed on Liquids. Any chance you are ava. to come to work for us?
  3. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Very nice indeed! I learned alot there. With that being said, I am looking to build a small (35 gallon) pre wet system for one of our v boxes, what would be the best option to pre wet with?

    Thanks Bossman
  4. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,963

    I am planning on setting up a v box here next month with a pre-wet also. I'm going to use the same mix I use in my anti icing sprayers. 90/10 mix of salt brine and calcium chloride.
  5. Winterologist

    Winterologist Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Thank you, I do appreciate the offer, however - at this time - I am currently engaged in another endeavor. My degrees in chemistry and many years focused on snow and ice control for government agencies and commercial-industrial contractors has served me well. I do draw from information on a national scope, but is clearly honed in on the Midwest.

  6. glfredrick

    glfredrick Member
    Messages: 33


    Has anyone heard of a product called "Stand-Up" by Rhomar?

    I'm trying to figure out the chemical composition (there are only so many liquid de-icers on the market) and also am looking for any real testimonials (not driven by company advertising) for its use.

    I looked up the MSDS, and nothing there to go on except specific gravity and that it is non-toxic.


    What I need is a liquid product that does not scar or cause effervescence in Spring on brick pavers, plus safe for use around boxwood plants. Last year, using calcium chloride 32% we had issues with both the boxwoods dying back and a lot of white deposits on our brick pavers (the main reason we use liquid de-icers! Ever try to plow brick?)\