Road salts are also known as halites. They are considered to be the natural mineral form of Sodium Chloride. They can be found in solid shapes and may be granular. Road salt is commonly found in semi-encased inlets as well as drying lakes, etc. They are found in the form of stores that could be either dark or white. However, occasionally we can spot shades of yellow and blue at times.
What is the purpose of using Road Salts?
Road salts are a big help in the industrial use and help in the maintenance of winter. These are sprinkled onto the roads, to defrost the water that has been solidified into frost or snow. Other than this, road salt prevents the ice from developing on the winter roads. They also retain the moisture present on dirt surfaces so as to reduce the amount of dust. To prevent the caking of road salts, one can add additives to the content. Example of these additives includes sugar and sodium hexacyanoferrate (II).
What are the different types of Road Salts?
- Sodium Chloride
Sodium chloride is known widely as table salt, halite may also be its other known names. It is the most common type of Road salt. Halite is usually dark grey in color. To taper off the salt from scattering around, pre-wetting agents are used in addition with it. This, in turn, reduces the amount that is required for the maintenance costs.
Similar to Sodium Chloride, Magnesium chloride too is used along with pre-wetting agents as it is not as corrosive as the other chemicals. It is produced from salt lakes by evaporation. During the process of its dissolving, it gives out heat, which aids the ice to melt away quickly at lower temperatures. It can also be used as a dust reducer on dirt as well as gravel roads.
It is also used as a dust reducer on dirt or gravel roads during the summer season. Calcium chloride is found naturally, but it can also be manufactured. It dissolves ice at extremely low temperatures and helps to trap moisture, thus suppressing the dust particles.
- Potassium Chloride
Potash or potassium chloride is found in the form of white or red granules. It is not considered to be an effective road salt at low temperatures, therefore it has to be used with other material to melt snow on the winter roads. Potassium Chloride is considered to be a safer alternative to use than sodium chloride.
- What is the local reasoning behind the usage of Road Salts?
Road salts are preferred because they together have a much lower solidification level than that of water. That is why by adding the salt to the ice, it will encourage the ice to dissolve faster. Road salt can be sprinkled on the drive that leads to homes so that the ice can be liquefied as well as meltdown soon after dissolving. But one should be deliberate to utilize a small amount of road salt.