Different deicers take different amounts of time to melt snow; this experiment is being conducted in order to find the fastest and most eco friendly deicer, that will replace road salt and it? harmful effects. “We toss more than 20 million tons of sodium chloride on our roadways every winter…That’s about 13 times more salt than is used by the entire food processing industry.” And when the snow and ice melts, the salt washes away into lakes and streams and harms wildlife. Researchers in Minnesota found that, in the urban cities, 70 % of the salt from deicers stays within the area.
Once the salt gets there, it is expensive to remove, and even after, it still leaves negative impacts by not only hurting the aquatic animals and plants, but seeping into wells. That in turn affects people on restricted-sodium diets and doesn’t taste the same. One of the most harmful components of road salt is sodium chloride.
As previously mentioned, sodium chloride harms our drinking water, aquatic animals and plants, and the atmosphere. An estimated 40 percent of the country’s streams have chloride levels that go beyond safe guidelines for aquatic life, because of the negative impacts of road salt. “These high levels of sodium chloride affects how animals regulate the uptake of salt into their bodies,” and affects the water circulation in lakes and ponds that prevents oxygen from reaching the bottom of the water. In addition, it also interferes with a body of water’s “natural chemistry,” by lowering the necessary nutrients, and therefore dehydrating and killing trees and plants. That is why we want the purpose of our investigation to create safer alternatives to road salts using food waste that will be safer for the environment, so we can find ways to melt snow and ice in an eco friendly way. Many people are trying to incorporate this into their day to day lives, but not many people are aware of the harmful chemicals of salt that are harming the environment. A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation de-icing truck sprayed beet juice on the driveway of a storefront, and the results were highly effective.
Scientists have already proven that this is a more impactful and safer way to melt snow and ice than salt, but we need to spread awareness about this, and teach everyone the importance of looking beneath the surface to find better ways to solve everyday problems that are often neglected. For our project, our independent variable is type of deicer. A deicer is “the fluids used to melt down through the hard surface and snow and ice by lowering the freezing point of water.” Our entire purpose of our project is recreating environmental friendly alternatives to road salt, out of natural materials. We are doing 10 trials for each level, and 5 levels, including a control.
Our first level is going to be brand road salt because we want to be able to compare its effectiveness to all the other levels by seeing their difference. Then for all our other alternatives, we are using pickle juice, beet juice, potato juice, and soy sauce. Beet juice will be a good option because the sugar in it lowers the freezing point of the ice and will melts at a cooler temperature than its typical 15°F limit. Pickle juice will work well because it can melt ice at temperatures as low as -6°F and prevents snow and ice from sticking with pavement, making the ice easier to be removed. Soy sauce because “it’s a liquid with a high sodium content, so it works well on thin ice in relatively warm temperatures.
” Lastly, potato juice would work well because it is more environmentally friendly than rock salt, has reduced “corrosive effects.” These are all everyday products that people find in their pantry, yet all of these substances have proven to be more effective, better for the environment, needed in smaller amounts, and ultimately more cost efficient. We are doing 10 trials, and for each trial, we will place one teaspoon over the crushed ice mixture, and test its effectiveness on the ice.
Next, our dependent variable is time it takes for ice to melt. The point of the project is to prove that we can use safer alternatives to road salt that will work just as well, so we are recording how long it will take to melt the ice. We will have 10 trials for each level, meaning that we will time how long the ice is melting for ten times, and average them out for each level.
For each trial, we are pouring the deicer over 1/3 cup of crushed ice, and waiting to record the data on how the deicer will affect the melting time. All in all, we want to see what deicer will melt the ice the fastest, by recording the time of each trial and finding the fastest one.