New asphalt additive to protect roads from icing

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(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese scientists have suggested adding polymeric microcapsules with organic salts to the asphalt.

Gradually standing out on the surface of the track, they make the snow melt and prevent the formation of ice for several years, without any additional anti-icing treatment.

Ice on a winter road is dangerous for all road users. They constantly fight with it, sprinkling sand, granite chips or anti-icing reagents on the asphalt.

Such mixtures usually consist of substances that melt the ice crust. The most common of these is calcium chloride, which is considered not only effective, but also not too toxic to the environment.

However, de-icing reagents have to be scattered every winter and in large quantities. This is expensive for both road services and motorists, since such substances accelerate the corrosion of machine parts.

Chlorine-containing salts are eventually washed off the asphalt and pollute the environment.

Finally, regular icing and melting destroys the roadbed. The solution to all these problems can be a new development of Chinese scientists.

Xiaomeng Chu and his colleagues at Hebei University of Science and Technology proposed using salts based on organic (acetic) acid instead of chlorides.

They mixed sodium acetate with a surfactant, silica, sodium bicarbonate, and granulated slag, a by-product of steel production.

Particles of such a powder were placed in a solution of styrene-acrylate, obtaining polymer microcapsules containing all the necessary components.

New asphalt additive to protect roads from icing 2

Scientists used such microcapsules as an additive to conventional asphalt.

Field experiments have confirmed that as a result of the gradual degradation of the polymer, the contents of the microcapsules are slowly released onto the roadway, preventing the formation of ice.

The snow falling on it melted instantly. Moreover, due to the presence of acetate, the freezing point of water on the surface of the track was reduced to an impressive minus 21 degrees Celsius.

Additional experiments in the laboratory showed that a five-centimeter layer of asphalt with the addition of microcapsules is able to release them and maintain anti-icing properties for a long time: up to seven to eight years.

All this time, the road with a new coating will not need anti-icing treatment, remaining safe “by itself”.


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