The Modern Pilot News

Electrically conductive concrete to clear snow and ice from runways

AMES, Iowa – Alireza Sassani turned a switch and sent 60 volts of electricity into a small block of concrete. A few minutes later the Iowa State University doctoral student took some measurements and found the block’s surface temperature had risen from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 189 degrees.

Next, Therin Young stepped up to the demonstration table and carefully squeezed drops of green-colored water on top of another set of small concrete blocks. The drops beaded on the concrete and, with the help of a little tilting by the master’s student, rolled right off the edge.

And then Halil Ceylan opened a walk-in freezer and showed off a pile of snow from one of Iowa’s winter storms. Behind the snow was a 2½-foot by 3½-foot concrete slab that was wet, but drying. Some 45 minutes earlier, that slab was buried in the snow.

All three technologies – electrically conductive concrete, nanostructured superhydrophobic coatings and hydronic heated pavements – are designed to quickly, economically and sustainably clear snow and ice from airport runways.

“These new technologies could prevent delays and keep airports accessible,” said Ceylan, an Iowa State associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering and director of the Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research at Iowa State’s Institute for Transportation.

 

 

 

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