What is anti-icing?
The science behind Anti-icing.
There are many different ways of applying deicing products. One of the best practices that allow us to apply them more efficiently is called anti-icing.
With anti-icing, the product is applied to the pavement before the snow starts to fall. Remember that the goal of deicing is not to try to bulk-melt all of the snow and ice off of the road. It would be inefficient to try to put enough salt down to melt all of the snow and ice that comes with a snow storm. The goal of deicing is simply to facilitate the removal of snow and ice by the plow action, and that means you want to break the bond between the snow and the pavement. The second thing you want to do, once the plow comes through, is to be able to melt any residual amount of snow and ice that is present and get the road back to a safe friction level.
However, Mother Nature is not always going to let you get away with a perfect anti-icing situation. Sometimes you are not going to be able to get ahead of the storm or the storm might go on for a prolonged period of time. We will often have an accumulation of snow and snow pack that we have to deal with which impacts your ability to use anti-icing products. When that happens, our choices are limited to standard deicing where we apply rock salt directly to the snow. Applying rock salt directly to snow is inherently inefficient because we have to “waste” some of that salt’s ice melting power, just to get down through that snow layer to get to the pavement.
In conclusion, anti-icing products are a very useful carrier that allow us, when the condition are correct, to distribute a small amount of product more uniformly across the pavement surface. Anti-icing provides just enough product so that it is sitting there, waiting for the snow to come, preventing the snow from bonding rather than having to bore down through a snow layer to get to the pavement.