An experimental slab of electrified concrete at the University of Nebraska may someday eliminate the need to shovel snow off of sidewalks.
The slab is the brainchild of a professor at the university who added steel shaving and carbon particles to the normal concrete mix. When electrified, the slab conducts enough electricity to melt snow and ice. Even after a heavy snowfall, the experimental slab is soon free of the snow after it is fired up.
Hot To The Touch?
But don’t worry. While the electrical charge running through the slab is enough to melt snow, it is not strong enough to shock a person or animal.
The research is being conducted for the Federal Aviation Administration, which may use similar technology to one day keep airports clear of ice and snow. But the concern is not where most people would assume. The runways aren’t the target, it’s the areas around them where workers have to load luggage, food, fuel and other supplies. Those areas are usually what cause delays during frigid weather.
Old Dog, New Trick
While the FAA is still in the research stage, the university professor behind the idea has already used the conductive concrete, as it’s officially known, in a bridge just south of Lincoln where the university is located.
The 150-foot-long bridge has remained snow and ice free for the last five years. The electricity is only applied when the weather is expected to cause icy roads. The cost of running the road is much less than what it would cost road crews to spread salt and other deicing material.
The conductive concrete also has other properties that might make it useful in building projects housing secrets. The material used in the concrete is known as magnetite, which shields against electromagnetic waves including cell phone signals.
Conductive concrete is just one of the many uses of reinforced concrete. Del Zotto Products has been a pioneer in the precast concrete and is also a leading innovator in the industry. For information about our products or services, contact us today.