As winter approaches, it's important to keep your sidewalks, driveways, and other outdoor surfaces safe by reducing the possibility of slips and falls. One way to accomplish this is by using rock salt, which effectively melts ice and prevents it from refreezing.
In this blog post, we will discuss the science behind how rock salt melts ice and why it is such a commonly used method.
Lowers the Freezing Point
Salt or sodium chloride lowers the freezing point of water, which is why it is used to melt ice. At cold temperatures, salt will begin to work by preventing ice from forming a strong bond with the surface it’s on.
Dissolves the Liquid Film
When rock salt is scattered on icy surfaces, it dissolves into the liquid film created when ice melts. This breaks down the bond between the ice and the surface it is on by creating a brine. The brine flows into the tiny cracks and crevices in the ice, weakening the ice structure and making it easier to remove.
Absorbs Heat From Surroundings
Rock salt can also absorb heat from its surroundings, further accelerating the melting process. When salt dissolves in water, it releases heat, which warms the surrounding environment. The salt also lowers the temperature at which water freezes, which in turn speeds up the melting process.
Other Methods of Melting Ice and Snow
It's important to note that rock salt is not the only method of melting ice and snow. There are other options, such as calcium chloride, which works at lower temperatures and is less harmful to the environment. However, rock salt is commonly used because it is inexpensive, easily accessible, and effective at preventing slips and falls on icy surfaces.
When using rock salt to melt ice, you must follow the proper safety guidelines. Rock salt should be applied early in the day before ice has formed and re-applied when needed. Only apply enough to break the ice's surface tension, and avoid using any chemical contents above the recommended amount.
Rock salt is a widely used and effective method for preventing slips and falls on icy surfaces. By understanding the science behind how rock salt works, we can better utilize its benefits. However, it's always important to take safety precautions when using rock salt and to be mindful of its impact on the environment.
Contact a company that offers rock salt for more information.