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Brine Experiment

  1. Feb 5, 2010 #1

    russ_watters

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    So we're about to get a decent snowstorm and being a lazy bastard + engineer, I'm considering an experiment with a brine solution (the way the DOT does it) to see if I can reduce my shoevling requirement. I have some normal rock-salt and I'm going to mix some with water and spray it on a section of my sidewalk.

    Any suggestions, predictions?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2010 #2
    This will end poorly.
     
  4. Feb 5, 2010 #3
    Where are you? Our definitions of "decent snowstorm" may be different.
     
  5. Feb 5, 2010 #4
    I thought they just spread salt (rock), and sprayed a calcium chloride solution
     
  6. Feb 5, 2010 #5
    Predictions are, it will start to melt the snow but depending on the concentration of the salt and the temperature, it will freeze into a nice icy sheet.

    So depending how cold it is, it could go well, or very badly. Put it this way, even at saturation salt water will freeze at -10c or so. So if it's that cold don't bother.
     
  7. Feb 5, 2010 #6

    lisab

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    N.B.: you might want to check to see how the salt solution will affect nearby plants.

    I say this from experience...I have a similar lazy streak :redface: and I've used rock salt for this purpose (Kosher salt, no less!). I think that's what caused some grass that lined the walkway to go brown. It came back though, being rye grass, so there was no permanent harm done. A less hardy plant might not do as well.

    It did melt the ice though.
     
  8. Feb 5, 2010 #7

    russ_watters

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    Southeastern PA, 6-12 inches.
     
  9. Feb 5, 2010 #8

    russ_watters

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    Well that's just it - they've mostly gone away from the rock salt and gone more with the sprayed solution. Uses less salt and performs better, so they say.
     
  10. Feb 5, 2010 #9

    russ_watters

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    Good to know - I don't have a live-in girlfriend, though, so I think I'm ok.
     
  11. Feb 5, 2010 #10

    russ_watters

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    Well, it's not going below 20 for the next few days I'm just going to salt the 10' walkway between my driveway and front door, so worst case it freezes over and provides an effective defense against Girl Scouts, Mormons and environmentalists.
     
  12. Feb 5, 2010 #11

    Monique

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    You could also try sugar :biggrin:
     
  13. Feb 5, 2010 #12
    So there's really no downside to this experiment. :tongue2:
     
  14. Feb 5, 2010 #13

    Dembadon

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    Have you used the particular brand of salt on your driveway before?

    The reason I ask is that we used a new brand of rocksalt on the walkway where I work and a reaction caused the salt to eat away at the concrete mixture that was used for the walkways. I don't know the ingredient that caused this, but it was definitely the salt. I sprinkled a bit of the salt in a small, isolated area and got the same results.

    Below are some pictures I took with my phone to show you what I mean:

    rocksalt1.jpg

    rocksalt2.jpg

    rocksalt3.jpg
     
  15. Feb 5, 2010 #14

    russ_watters

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    I haven't used salt at all before, no. And what you describe is a concern of mine - I've heard it before. The builder of my house used cheap, crappy concrete and some driveway aprons are showing what your pictures show. And my front porch (never been salted) is doing the same thing. It's like the top 1/4" of the concrete is separating itself from what's below. I was thinking it was due to water seeping in and freezing.

    In any case, I would think that a brine solution might be better than rock salt, since it won't sit on and eat at the sidewalk for days/weeks.
     
  16. Feb 5, 2010 #15

    Monique

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    I was serious, try sugar :smile: It also lowers the freezing point of ice, just like salt, and might be less destructive to your porch.

    I do hope you have a good liability insurance, in case a neighbor sees you spraying water on your iced porch and driveway and decides to earn some cash.
     
  17. Feb 5, 2010 #16
    Use a MAPP gas torch. That should get rid of everything nice and neat.
     
  18. Feb 5, 2010 #17
    My father used to lay out huge sheets of canvas over the lawn nights before snow would fall, rolling them up the next day. Had ropes attached to pull them up with a motor. Always looked strange to see very bare lawn throughout the winter.
     
  19. Feb 5, 2010 #18

    lisab

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    The would really look strange!

    The forecast for the Washington DC area is for 30" of snow - that's a lot of weight. I wonder if your dad's motor would be able to handle that...or maybe the canvas would rip?
     
  20. Feb 5, 2010 #19
    I think if he were to play with this one, he'd probably go with plywood or something similar. Not sure how well that would work, though. He was in the Corps of Engineer, and always busied himself with projects.
     
  21. Feb 5, 2010 #20
    that might be the most optimal solution though ...
     
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