Every winter, no matter how many snowplows are there, we still get snowed in at least once; but what if a new electric concrete could help melt snow?
Winter icy problems
It seems that each winter, especially if it’s a rough one, although snowplows roam the streets, cleaning them up of snow, there are still people who have trouble with snow, and even more people who have trouble with ice. The issue is that although snow is mostly removed, the roads can become icy as the chemicals and salt used for melting the ice, don’t always work as well as they should.
Besides, all of these snow “interventions”, the machines and whatever they spread on the roads are quite expensive and require a lot of workforce and a lot of time, many drivers working from morning till night, or from night till morning.
The newest solution
Therefore, researchers have started looking into solutions for these problems and a team from the University of Nebraska may have actually succeeded in finding a suitable idea. Since roads and concrete are the first ones directly affected by snow, why don’t they solve the problem? Scientists have developed a new type of concrete which should melt snow as soon as it gets in contact with it.
The concrete conducts electricity and warms up enough to make snow melt, but without being too hot if you touch it. Scientists have developed it by adding carbon and steel to the asphalt mix, creating a 20-80 percent combination. Once the concrete hardens, it carries a current that melts the ice and snow, without being harmful to humans.
Right now, there is only one patch of 200 square foot concrete in Nebraska, which has been developed and tested by the researchers. Being a mix of asphalt with carbon and steel, the whole surface heats up leaving no cold areas. The research is funded by the FAA, which may use this concrete in the future for airport tarmacs. This would lead to less weather-related delays.
How the concrete will be used
Although the new concrete will indeed prove to be quite useful, it is too expensive to use for entire roads. However, it could be used for paving bridges, ramps, sidewalks, parking lots and high-traffic intersections. In this way, accidents will be avoided.
What is more is that the conductive concrete could have sensors in the future that will make it automatically heat up when it gets touched by snow. All in all, this is one invention that couldn’t be more useful.
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