Snow, depending on your childhood, as well as whether you have a car or not, can be either a longtime friend or one of your worst enemies. And heavy snow days are the worst, especially if you need to drive to work. How would you like to just wait for an hour and have your driveway thawed? A team of researchers from UNL created an electro-conductive concrete that thaws roads.
- The team behind the project is from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- The FAA is considering implementing the technology on the tarmac around gated areas
- Nebraska’s Roca Spur Bridge has been using the concrete since 2002
- After the installation, it only costs about $250 to defrost after a lengthy snow storm
- With some modifications the concrete can even be made to shield against electro-magnetic waves
Despite many people saying that Chris Tuan, the conductive concrete’s inventor is at war with winter, there are several parties which would disagree, including the Nebraska Department of Roads.
After the city spent $180 more per cubic yard of concrete in order to pave their Roca Spur Bridge with the special conductive cement in 2002, the Nebraska Department of Roads claims to regret nothing, as the investment paid for itself.
Sure, a cubic yard of the special concrete costs $300 instead of the usual $120, but with the money saved on defrosting roads during the winter, the department got more that its investment back.
$250 is how much it costs to thaw a bridge made out of 52 blocks of the stuff after a heavy snowstorm, far less than it costs to hire special defrosting trucks to do that, and also far less damaging due to the lack of salt and chemical use.
The FAA is even interested in trying out the concrete, so as to save a lot of delay time by defrosting the tarmacs around gated areas. If they are happy with the results, they might even implement the changes on runways.
Now, let’s talk for a bit about the creation process.
By inserting steel shaving and carbon particles into the concrete mix at a proportion of about 20%, the special defrosting concrete is born. It’s that simple.
And all you need to do in order to use its defrosting capabilities is to connect it to a power source, and the conductive cement will do the rest from there.
What the team has been doing since 2002, when the cement was applied on the bridge is anyone’s guess, but the technology does sound very useful.
Image source: Wikimedia