Good Ol' Salt

Rumblings in our gathering area are typically focused on muscle cars and well-mannered debates.  During our last gathering, the predicted blast from Ol’ Man Winter resulted in the summoning of the rumbling salt truck.  [Grainy cellphone photo displayed below]

When people talk about road treatments, many talk about ‘salting the roads’.  Today, salt only begins to tell the story.  New science is attacking old-school processes.  The state of Maryland faces an immense task of protecting about 30,000 miles of interstates, main roads and secondary roads.  With our safety and the state’s money in mind, it obviously pays to get it right.

 So what are the ‘hot’ products in the ice and snow game?  In Maryland, salt remains the most popular due to its low cost and high availability but the up-and-comer is salt brine.  When trucks are pre-treating roads, you may be seeing salt brine – or liquid sodium chloride – in action.  Its improved effective temperature limit in comparison to salt [-6°F vs. 20°F] drives its effectiveness.  To drive effective temperatures even lower – for an even longer reliability time - the state is experimenting with adding ‘desugared’ sugar beet molasses to salt brine. 

 As with just about anything these days, if you want more effectiveness – for your automobile, smartphone or your winter weather road treatment product – you need more science, more ingredients and more processing.  Of course, it all costs more…and that’s why good ol’ salt remains at the top of the heap in a salt truck near you.

 [Resource:  Maryland State Highway Administration]

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Posted on December 17, 2013 .