MP of auto glass? auto paint?

  1. High...I'm a hardy Minnesotan which also means I go through some harsh winters. The ice on my car always freezes pretty thick at school. That being said, I want to invent some sort of cool-looking low-heat flame device to basicaly melt the ice very very fast. So I was wondering:

    1. What hazards should I be concerned with besides melting or possibly burning he glass or the rubber/paint around it. I don't want to do any damage to the car. What can I do to avoid these hazards?

    2. What burns at such a low heat?

    3. Is there anything else that reacts with ice to make it break off the windshield?

    4. How exactly could I go about making such a thing?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. How about using the defroster on your heating system. It runs off the heat produced by the engine in the coolant lines. If the weather is that cold, its better to let the cars heating system take care of that for you. You dont want to turn on your car and just drive off like that on a cold day, you want to let your engine idle for a few mins. By then your heating should have defrosted most of the ice. I believe the invention your looking for is an ice scrapper. Water would work just fine you know. Ever dumped a bucked of ice in your sink? Turn on the water and poof, it melts incredibly fast. I really wouldnet go around pouring flamable liquid onto my car on a cold day and lighting it up. Aside from burning your paint, which it will as it runs down onto the hood, you might catch yourself on fire too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  4. Thank you captain ingenuity. I'm not looking for an ice scraper, I believe that was pretty clear.

    My windshield does not have a defroster. The engine may be ready to go in a few minutes, but even with the heat blowing full power on the inside of the windshield and me scraping ice, it can still take 30 minutes or more. The ice gets pretty thick, sometimes 1/2 inch to an inch.

    And no, water does not work just fine. Especially when it's below freezing. If the temperature is -10 degrees celsius, it would take probably 20 degrees or hotter water to even get the ice to its melting point. Not to mention water isnt exactly readily available.

    Also, where did I say ANYTHING about flammable liquid? That was a blatant assumption. And no, I'm not trying to be defensive, I'm just trying to get somethign constructive out of this thread.
     
  5. NoTime

    NoTime 1,570
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Put a tarp over the windshield.
    Close doors on ends of tarp to hold in place.

    A hair dryer works well for thawing frozen locks.
    Maybe you could find a portable one.
    This will be slow, like the defroster.

    If you are getting thick ice it usually is not that cold.
    So the bucket of water trick works quite well, even below freezing.
    Room temp water is fine.
    No bathrooms in your school?
     
  6. My fault, I thought you ment that when you said "cool-looking low-heat flame." I suppose you mean a hand held torch? I dident know you had 1/2-1 inch of ice yikes! A small welding torch should work fine, just dont hold the flame too close. In the end though, you will need either a flamable liquid or gas for heat.

    -Cpt ingenuity :rolleyes:
     
  7. BobG

    BobG 2,364
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    A portable, battery operated hair dryer would be a good idea. You don't want flame. You want the heat spread around vs. concentrating on one spot.

    Ice scrapers only work when you have a way to get through the ice to open your door and reach them (actually, one of those small, 6 inch, metal ice scrapers aren't too obnoxious to carry around with you - just don't try to pass through the screening devices at the entrance to government buildings with one in your pocket, though.)

    Most frustrating thing I remember about ice storms (Nebraska was notorious for them) is finding that even though you couldn't open the driver's side door, you could make it through the ice to the passenger side door ..... and then finding you couldn't close it again. Makes those quick transits through the left turn lane on a yellow light look so overdramatic ... plus it freaks out the person in lane next to you.
     
  8. Cliff_J

    Cliff_J 789
    Science Advisor

    Since MN already uses plenty of salt to treat the roads you could do the same as a pre or post treatment to help rid yourself of ice buildup. It will have the same negative effects of corrosion and what not but those are already present in that location.

    Cliff
     
  9. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've always wondered about that myself. When I lived in MI, it seemed every door on the car would unlock except the driver's side door. I decided when bad storms were predicted to take my chances leaving the door unlocked...if some car thief wanted to dig the car out of the snow, they'd have almost earned their prize.

    Don't they make ice scrapers you can plug into your cigarette lighter to help melt the ice as you go? Though, on a cold day, you might not want to drain the battery any more than necessary. Garages and carports work well. :biggrin:

    Incidentally, I used to keep at least 3 ice scrapers: one inside the passenger compartment of the car (in the backseat since that's the door I could get open), one in the trunk of the car (in case the doors didn't open but the trunk did), and one inside my apartment. People were usually helpful enough if you found yourself in a parking lot unable to get into your car...whoever got to their scraper first would usually let you borrow it to get into your own. I never had much luck with ice over a 1/4" thick though. Best solution was to just let the car heat up for a long time, or throw in the towel and take the bus/walk/stay home.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  10. I asked my coworker laura, who is an auto mechanic in training why people don't use warm water to melt ice. She said it's very damaging to the windshield, and can cause it to crack or even break. I'm not exactly sure why this is, but I'm looking into it. Cyrus, thanks for not taking my reply the wrong way.

    The other thing that I must consider is that there are going to be other people, and a torch that's 500% more cool-looking and 50% as useful as another solution would get a lot of use. I know it seems kinda shallow, but I'm not gonna have a hair dryer. I went to Wal-Mart and got some prestone de-icer. It's kind of weird, there were about 4 different brands of de-icer, and there was a variety in the main ingredients. The most common were Isopropyl Alcohol, Methanol, and Magnesium compounds (I forget).

    I'm guessing the prestone works better than the others, because prestone is a major brand. If by chance I did happen upon a good way to obtain teh chemicals in a de-icer, what would be a good thing to spray it on with? Somethign that looks cool.
     
  11. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If a hair dryer doesn't cut it, you can use a heat gun, which is just a hair dryer with a thermostat and extra oomph.

    And yeah, I would go so far as trying a flamethrower.
     
  12. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Or how about a bucketfull of boiling saltwater ? :eek:
     
  13. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yep, it will sure remove the ice quickly when the whole windshield shatters and falls out though! Remember glass doesn't tolerate rapid temperature changes very well.

    tribdog would buy it! Now, please consider just how much damage he could do with such a thing before you decide to release it to the world.
     
  14. "Yep, it will sure remove the ice quickly when the whole windshield shatters and falls out though! Remember glass doesn't tolerate rapid temperature changes very well."

    Does anyone know if there is such thing as auto glass that does not have this property? (perhaps it might not even be glass)
     
  15. Janus

    Janus 2,426
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The problem is that glass has two properties: It does not conduct heat well and it is brittle. If you try to warm cold glass up too quickly, The area you apply the heat to starts to expand. Since the heat is not conducted fast enough to the surrounding glass, it does not expand as quickly and a stress is placed on the glass which can cause it to shatter.
     
  16. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Why not just buy a can of de-icer?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?