Uses[ edit ] In addition to the familiar domestic uses of salt, more dominant applications of the approximately megatons per year production data include chemicals and de-icing. Each of those use a different method to separate the chlorine from the sodium hydroxide. Other technologies are under development due to the high energy consumption of the electrolysis, whereby small improvements in the efficiency can have large economic paybacks. Some applications of chlorine include PVCdisinfectants, and solvents.
Salting roads is standard practice in several states, and many consider it an effective method for preventing weather-related collisions.
However, road salt can cause vehicle parts to rust. Water from precipitation puts oxygen and carbon dioxide in contact with metal car parts. Free-floating ions in road salt come in contact with the water. These ions speed up the formation of iron oxide. Rust starts forming, since rust is simply a layer of iron oxide that appears after extensive exposure to oxygen.
The addition of salt and water just makes the rusting process occur faster than normal conditions allow. The best thing you can do is to wash and wax your car frequently — especially before and during winter. The more often you wash and wax, the more salt you will remove.
Sealing your undercarriage helps, too. In the fall, before roads start getting icy, talk to a car professional about sealants and other preemptive precautions for road salt. Road salt can also damage bridges, parking garages, railroads, and other public transportation infrastructures.
Road salt can negatively impact the environment Think about this: Over time, water supplies contaminated by road salt stop supporting certain types of aquatic life.
This happens when salt comes in contact with the upper layers of a water source.
Due to the presence of snow salt, the water becomes more dense and sinks to the bottom, preventing oxygen in the top layers from reaching the bottom layers. This separation of upper and lower layers disrupts aquatic ecosystems. It impacts birds, in particular, as they are likely to ingest the salt granules.
The salt can poison the birds and reduce local populations. But is there anything positive about snow salt? In addition, salt is a budget-friendly de-icer. The bottom line is that salt is cost-effective and prevents collisions, injuries, and highway fatalities, which is why many states still use it to melt ice on slippery roads.
Not to be confused with de-icing techniques, which refer to actions taken to melt ice already on the roads, anti-icing involves spraying dry roads with pre-mixed salt solutions.
Other states are exploring more unusual alternatives, such as cheese brine, molasses, and solar-powered road systems. While none of these road salt alternatives will completely replace road salt anytime soon, evidence shows they are helping reduce the amount of salt used.
For example, Indiana was able to usefewer tons of salt in a single winter thanks to anti-icing. A Future for Snow Salt? Road salt is here to stay. When the weather gets bleak, preventing accidents caused by ice is a public safety imperative.
Yet researchers are still working on the development of methods that reduce overall quantities of road salt, which could mean mega benefits for our vehicles and the environment.
However, a day where we are no longer reliant on salt to clear icy roadways is far off. In summary, we are reducing our reliance on road salt. Less salt on the roads means less salt affecting our vehicles and the environment. Only time will tell if we can find a more sustainable alternative completely, but until then any progress is good progress.
Besides waiting for road crews to salt local highways, what else can you do to stay safe on the roads in winter? Check out our list of winter driving safety tips for more ways to protect yourself and your vehicle from the effects of harsh winter weather.
Drive With Cold Confidence When it comes to driving in winter weather, having the right snow tires matters. Watch the video to see how Bridgestone Blizzak premium winter tires are designed to deliver optimal snow and ice performance.The five-year comprehensive science assessment determined the release of road salts into the environment in very high amounts leads to environmental problems.
About five million tonnes of road salts are used in Canada each year to mitigate ice and snow conditions on . An estimated , tons of road salt is applied in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA) each year.
The chloride in road salt flows into our lakes, streams, and groundwater, potentially harming our environment. Home > News & Media > Multimedia Library > Video > Road Salts and the Bay Road Salts and the Bay CBF Senior Scientist Beth McGee explains how the road salts used during winter storms can affect the Bay and its rivers and streams.
Road salt in the environment affects the health of wildlife, including birds and mammals. Birds, the most sensitive wildlife species to salt, often mistake road salt crystals for seeds or grit. Consumption of very small amounts of salt can result in toxicosis and death within the bird population.
The Salt Institute is a North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition. A salt road (also known as a salt route, salt way, saltway, or salt trading route) refers to any of the prehistoric and historical trade routes by which essential salt was transported to regions that lacked it.