How To Make Old Fashioned Ice Cream Using Rock Salt Ice Melters – How Salt Granules Work

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Ice Melters – How Salt Granules Work

The most well-known defrosting device is rock salt, as it is used to keep our highways safe during winter storms. Many buyers know very little about the many other defrosting machines used to make our sidewalks, driveways and parking lots safer. This article uses simple / non-technical language to explain how these defrosters work.

All traditional defrosters are formulas of four basic salts and / or fertilizers. In addition, other ingredients are sometimes added to make the sticky product spread better and / or more visible. The term salt is used to describe a compound containing a basic element called “chloride”. Rock salt is sodium chloride, which is naturally extracted from the ground. The four salts are:

1) Sodium Chloride – Rock salt (natural sodium chloride) works by absorbing heat. When these seeds are spread on a road with water and / or ice, two things happen:

o Powder mixed with water and / or ice.

Sun-absorbing pellets, car tires, crushing force, etc. increase the temperature of the solution.

An increase in the temperature of this solution causes the ice to melt even though the outside air temperature is between + 20F and the freezing point of water 32F. Rock salt has a minimum effective temperature (MET) of + 20F. This means that when the outside temperature is below + 20F, ice can still form below the normal application rate.

2) Calcium chloride – The granules of this compound emit more heat when allowed to come in contact with water / ice, as opposed to heat-absorbing rock salt. Calcium chloride has an MET of 2525F.

3) Magnesium chloride – The grains of this compound also emit heat. However, it has a MET of only zero F. This is because the grain contains about 50% water and 50% magnesium chloride, which makes it only half effective when mixed with water / ice. Due to the water content, the application rate must be significantly increased to obtain the same amount of solubility compared to calcium chloride.

4) Potassium Chloride – The granules of this compound act similarly to rock salt by absorbing heat. Thus, potassium chloride is less effective than the previous two salts. Potassium chloride has an MET of + 25F. Potassium chloride is also commonly used as a fertilizer.

It is now known that the above four salts work by absorbing heat or emitting heat. What determines the actual operation of an ice machine? By changing the ratio of the above 4 salts in a product, the manufacturer can adjust many characteristics of the defrost equipment such as MET, melting speed, melting time and environmental impact (vegetation, animal life, concrete, floor, etc.).

The operation of a particular defrosting machine is determined by the predominant salt in the defrosting device because there is very little interaction between the different salts when mixing. The addition of weak salts such as MET weakens the resulting product according to the proportions used in the product. The same is true for adding small amounts of salt with stronger properties. The resulting product is reinforced only for specific characteristics according to the proportions used in the product.

Finally, non-corrosive or unsalted additives such as urea and CMA can also play an important role in how granules of thawed products work.

Urea (a common form of nitrogen contained in fertilizers) is sometimes mixed with the above salts, but is not as effective as melting ice. Too much urea can severely impair product performance. While urea products may seem environmentally friendly, they can actually be bad for the environment due to the high consumption rate required to melt the ice.

CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate) is an important ingredient added to many ice makers to speed up melting and make it more corrosive. Pure CMA is less corrosive than water. CMA is very expensive. CMA additives are biodegradable. This means that it dissolves into naturally occurring compounds. Products containing CMA additives are often advertised as environmentally friendly.

Both urea and CMA are used at airports to clean runways and / or aircraft because they are less corrosive than salt.

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