Drexel University researchers have made a discovery that could create roads that melt off ice and snow during winter storms. Their secret? — Adding a little paraffin wax to the road’s concrete mix.
In a paper recently published in journal “Cement and Concrete Composites” researchers, led by Yaghoob Farnam, PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering, explain how substances like paraffin oil — known as “phase change materials” in chemistry — can be used in concrete to store energy and release it as heat when a road needs a melt-off.
Keeping roads open to travel is a persistent challenge during winter months, but efforts to make them safely passable — including the constant use of snow plows, deicing chemicals and road salt — tend to deteriorate the surface. The chemicals and road salts currently used to melt snow and ice can also have a deleterious environmental impact when surface runoff carries them into nearby ecosystems — which is pretty likely considering the state of Pennsylvania alone dumps more than 900,000 tons of it on roads each winter. So researchers have been searching for a better winter option than salting and plowing for some time.
Farnam’s group in collaboration with researchers from Purdue University and Oregon State University, is among the first to demonstrate that using phase change materials as an environmentally friendly alternative can be just as effective as the standard salting and scraping methods.
“Phase change materials can be incorporated into concrete using porous lightweight aggregate or embedded pipes and when PCM transforms from liquid to solid during cooling events, it can release thermal heat that can be used to melt ice and snow,” Farnam said. “By inhibiting the formation of ice and snow on the pavement or bridge surface, the use of PCM may reduce or eliminate the need for deicing chemicals/salts, snowplowing or both — thus saving money and positively influencing the environmental impact of such operations.”
Paraffin oil, a common ingredient in candles, wax polishes, cosmetics and water-proofing compounds, was their material of choice for this endeavor because it is organic, widely available, chemically stable and relatively inexpensive. Like all phase change materials, it releases thermal energy when it changes its physical state, which means as temperatures drop and the oil begins to solidify it releases energy through latent heat of fusion. This means paraffin oil can be tailored to embed deicing capabilities in a road surface so that it becomes thermally active during snow events or when deicing is needed.
To test its snow and ice-melting ability, the team created a set of concrete slabs — one with paraffin-filled pipes inside, one containing porous lightweight aggregate that had been infused with paraffin, and a third reference slab without paraffin. Each was sealed in an insulated container and then covered with about five inches of lab-made “snow.”
With temperatures inside the boxes held between 35-44 degrees Fahrenheit, both of the paraffin-treated slabs were able to completely melt the snow within the first 25 hours of testing, while the snow on the reference sample remained frozen. The slab with the paraffin-filled tubes melted the snow slightly faster than the one composed of paraffin-treated aggregate. Farnam suggests that this is because the paraffin inside the tubes is able to solidify more quickly — thus releasing its energy — because of the regular diameter of the pipes. While the diameter of the pores of the aggregate vary in size.
The Latest on: Phase-change materials
- Phase-change like process through bond switching in distorted and resonantly bonded crystalon September 6, 2019 at 2:23 am
Herein we have shown that GeTe is a prototype phase-change material, which can exhibit a non-thermal phase-change-like process under uniaxial stress. Due to its structural characteristics like ...
- At the edge of chaos, powerful new electronics could be createdon September 3, 2019 at 1:55 pm
The result is a material in which these twinned pairs form alternating domains, with a fixed periodicity. Heating causes a phase change in the material, in which both the direction and the periodicity ...
- Electronic Thermal Management Materials Market By Regional Statistics & Growth Forecast 2019-2025on August 29, 2019 at 11:42 pm
Gap fillers and phase change materials are other major product segment in the global market. Gap fillers held a significant market share in 2018 and shall exhibit the same trend during the forecast ...
- Controlled Molecular Thin Film Crystallizationon August 27, 2019 at 6:38 am
In many cases these materials are integrated into functional devices as ... which in turn influence their phase change properties. Deposition processing parameters are not always adequate to optimize ...
- Advanced Phase Change Materials Market Is Booming Across the Globe Explored in Latest Report 2019–2023on August 26, 2019 at 7:19 am
Pune, India -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/26/2019 -- The report high point, potential growth opportunities in the coming years and covers a review of the market drivers, growth measure, competitive landscape, ...
- Phase Change Materials Market Will Achieve 15.8% CAGR to Cross $4.2bn by 2024: GMIon August 23, 2019 at 2:43 am
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
- Phase Change Material (PCM) Market 2019: Highlights Recent Trends,Market Growth,Top Manufacturers Analysis,Business Opportunities and Demandon August 22, 2019 at 1:56 pm
Aug 22, 2019 (The Expresswire) -- Phase Change Material (PCM) Market Research 2019:Analysis By Growth Opportunities, Size, Share, Geographic Segmentation & Competitive Landscape Report with Forecast ...
- Phase Change Materials Market Will Achieve 15.8% CAGR to Cross $4.2bn by 2024: GMIon August 22, 2019 at 2:36 am
SELBYVILLE, Delaware, Aug. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Salt hydrates phase change materials market share is expected to surpass USD 270 million by 2024, says a 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. report.
- India- Phase Change Materials Market Supply And Demand, Industry Capacity, Forecast and Strategies Report To 2023 | Radiant Insights, Inc.on August 12, 2019 at 7:37 am
(MENAFN - GetNews) Radiant Insights, Inc has announced the addition of the 'Global Phase Change Materials Market 2023' report to their offering. A phase change material (PCM) is a substance with a ...
- A promising form-stable phase change material prepared using cost effective pinecone biochar as the matrix of palmitic acid for thermal energy storageon August 8, 2019 at 2:17 am
A promising new form-stable phase change material (PA/PB) was fabricated using pinecone biochar (PB) as the supporting material of palmitic acid (PA). The biochar of PB with large surface area was ...
via Google News and Bing News