Concrete That Melts the Snow

01/25/2016 |

New formulation could improve winter safety

Conductive concrete

A slab of the scientists' conductive concrete. PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIS TUAN, LIM NGUYEN

A new design integrating electric conductivity into normal concrete can melt the snow and ice that accumulates on roads, bridges, and parking areas during the winter. Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln added carbon particles and steel shavings, comprising just 20% of the normal mixture, but the resulting concrete creates enough electricity to melt any amount of precipitation while staying safe to touch.

The researchers note that while it’s not likely to be cost-effective to start using exclusively conductive concrete for road construction, the technology will be especially useful for areas or spots that tend to see a lot of ice buildup in the winter such as driveways and sidewalks. By using magnetite instead of the normal limestone and sand, the new formula also shields against electromagnetic waves, including those used by cell phones. This can provide an additional line of defense for organizations worried about corporate espionage.

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