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Old January 10 2010, 11:37 AM   #1
Crewman47
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Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
Instead of Grit and Salt

I had an idea the other day that instead of spreading grit and salt on roads and paths, which we know can make them a bit messy when said ice and snow melts, why don't we come up some kind of heating element, attached to existing gritter trucks, that melts the ice and snow and the water residue is then sucked up by powerful vacumms attached to either the underside or the rear of the truck.

I don't know how much grit these trucks hold but I'm sure you could collect quite a bit water in them which would mean you wouldn't need a lot of trips to do a mid-sized town or city.

Now I know we have to take CO2 emissions into consideration and what not these days but I think it could be possible if we had the right materials so what do you think?
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Old January 10 2010, 11:52 AM   #2
RoJoHen
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

I'm just waiting for the day when we have heated roads.
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Old January 10 2010, 12:15 PM   #3
All Seeing Eye
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

Crewman47 wrote: View Post
I had an idea the other day that instead of spreading grit and salt on roads and paths, which we know can make them a bit messy when said ice and snow melts, why don't we come up some kind of heating element, attached to existing gritter trucks, that melts the ice and snow and the water residue is then sucked up by powerful vacumms attached to either the underside or the rear of the truck.

I don't know how much grit these trucks hold but I'm sure you could collect quite a bit water in them which would mean you wouldn't need a lot of trips to do a mid-sized town or city.

Now I know we have to take CO2 emissions into consideration and what not these days but I think it could be possible if we had the right materials so what do you think?
I'm pretty sure everyone has thought this up before at some point and I'm also pretty sure we've all concluded is too inefficient. The heating element would need to get pretty hot in order to melt it fast enough to be sucked up otherwise the vehicle doing it would need to drive really really slow. Most importantly is the fact that regardless of how much it may try to suck up the water left behind there's no way it would get it all up and the remaining water would turn into ice causing more havoc for cars than simple snow would.

Grit is far more efficient and effective than any vehicle with a heating element could.

Now whilst we're on this subject I have an idea of my own. Cars should be designed with small tanks above each wheel with a heating element in it. The owner of the vehicle can shovel snow into these tanks and the element melts the snow and boils it. The tanks can then release the boiling hot water around the tyres via a jet of steam melting any snow or ice that may be causing a problem for the car. This would mainly be for vehicles that get stuck in the snow.
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Old January 10 2010, 02:51 PM   #4
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

I Am Legend wrote: View Post

Now whilst we're on this subject I have an idea of my own. Cars should be designed with small tanks above each wheel with a heating element in it. The owner of the vehicle can shovel snow into these tanks and the element melts the snow and boils it. The tanks can then release the boiling hot water around the tyres via a jet of steam melting any snow or ice that may be causing a problem for the car. This would mainly be for vehicles that get stuck in the snow.
Water boils at 100C

Rubber liquefies at 128C

You don't think the tires would begin to disintegrate at 100C?

The best race car tires shred at 93C
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Old January 10 2010, 03:13 PM   #5
All Seeing Eye
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

JonathonWally wrote: View Post
I Am Legend wrote: View Post

Now whilst we're on this subject I have an idea of my own. Cars should be designed with small tanks above each wheel with a heating element in it. The owner of the vehicle can shovel snow into these tanks and the element melts the snow and boils it. The tanks can then release the boiling hot water around the tyres via a jet of steam melting any snow or ice that may be causing a problem for the car. This would mainly be for vehicles that get stuck in the snow.
Water boils at 100C

Rubber liquefies at 128C

You don't think the tires would begin to disintegrate at 100C?

The best race car tires shred at 93C
I said around the tyres and shooting it out as a jet into the cold will cool it but still retain enough heat to clear the snow or ice. The tyres will be completely fine.
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Old January 10 2010, 05:02 PM   #6
Zulu Romeo
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

I wonder what the people of Scandinavia, Alaska, northern Canada, Russia and Greenland would normally do in these situations?
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Old January 10 2010, 05:06 PM   #7
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

Zion Ravescene wrote: View Post
I wonder what the people of Scandinavia, Alaska, northern Canada, Russia and Greenland would normally do in these situations?
Stay inside?
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Old January 10 2010, 06:04 PM   #8
George Steinbrenner
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I'm just waiting for the day when we have heated roads.
I doubt that would work. The power requirements would be off the charts.
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Old January 10 2010, 10:03 PM   #9
RoJoHen
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I'm just waiting for the day when we have heated roads.
I doubt that would work. The power requirements would be off the charts.
Well, I'm not saying it's gonna happen anytime soon.
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Old January 10 2010, 10:11 PM   #10
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

Perhaps we should instead ask why people should have to drive on roads in such conditions to begin with.

It's a shame there isn't a machine that could move people from one place to another, perhaps by converting them to energy, then sending that energy pattern to their destination, where it could be reassembled. Some sort of...transporting device.

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Old January 10 2010, 10:29 PM   #11
Scout101
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

seems like hover-cars would be more likely than either of these solutions, and it solves the deteriorating road problem at the same time
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Old January 11 2010, 12:28 AM   #12
JustAFriend
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

You DO realize that when you heat the snow and then attempt to remove the water that much of it will just re-freeze as DEADLY ICE???

(Besides the enormous energy involved at melting the snow in the first place?)

Salt and grit are cheap and you can treat a LOT of roadway in a short period of time.
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Old January 11 2010, 01:16 AM   #13
Lindley
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

Zion Ravescene wrote: View Post
I wonder what the people of Scandinavia, Alaska, northern Canada, Russia and Greenland would normally do in these situations?
Don't know about that, but in Vermont the road crews are competent, which goes a long way towards making roads drivable.

The problems with snow on roads mostly apply to places that don't get snow on roads very often, because the road crews don't know which way is up when it happens.

The focus is, "Let's get this snow and ice off the road as fast as we can," when it's really a much better approach to say, "Let's make this road safe despite the snow and ice on it."
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Old January 11 2010, 01:21 AM   #14
WalkerBait
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

I'm sure at some point when energy is plentiful and cheap enough we'll have something along the lines of heated roads, or maybe even roads made of some-kind-of meta material that ice can't freeze too that also melts through some-kind-of energy transference. (Say some-sort-of aluminum based asphalt.)

Right now as it is sand, salt, and other de-icing compunds along with plow-trucks are the only options we have. There's some bridges around here that have de-icing systems on-site that can be activated to de-ice the bridge from a command center. Something like that on a more epic scale might be able to be done but also would require some sort of massive network of distribution pipes and storage tanks.

Yeah, salt and plow trucks are our best option.

And, the idea of ice-melting steam-pressurized vaccum snow pumps on cars?
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Old January 11 2010, 01:27 AM   #15
Data Holmes
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Re: Instead of Grit and Salt

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I'm just waiting for the day when we have heated roads.
I doubt that would work. The power requirements would be off the charts.
Perhaps some form of geothermal heat pump?

Or, how about a small Nuclear "thermal battery" used as a heat source. It could be dual purpose, providing both electrical power for a given area and thermal heating for road surfaces in winter...
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