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Mid-America Transportation Center

Development of Shaker Test as a Standardized Test Protocol for Deicing Chemicals Evaluation

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Christopher Tuan (ctuan@unomaha.edu (402) 554-3867)
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    During a research project previously funded by MATC, a simple and economical test using a martini shaker for ice melting capacity evaluation showed good potential to become a standardized test. The development of the shaker test was prompted by the inconsistent results from the SHRP ice melting capacity test. This project will further develop the shaker test to become a standardized test protocol for deicing chemicals evaluation.
    Research Objective
    The main objective of this project is to transform the shaker test into a gold standard for ice melting capacity evaluation of deicing chemicals. Variables affecting winter maintenance operations include the type of precipitation, air and pavement temperature, traffic, wind, time of day, day of week, and the availability of maintenance equipment. Once the shaker test results are validated using MDSS and field data, the field performance of common deicing chemicals can be predicted with confidence and best practices for normal deicing operations can be subsequently drafted. Optimum deicer/brine ratios and the associated application rates will be determined for specified weather and road conditions. The best practices will ensure effective deicing operations and efficient use of deicing chemicals, which will help reduce the adverse effects on concrete pavement and the environment.
    Potential Benefits
    There are many products available for use in highway and bridge deicing and new products are introduced each year. Data from the manufacturer provides only theoretical performance under specific conditions. A test procedure for acceptance of deicing chemicals is needed to confirm the manufacturers’ claims and to compare competing products under the same controlled conditions and at various application rates. Accurate information regarding the relative deicing performance of different chemicals at specific temperatures and environmental conditions in terms of chemical mix ratio and application rate will improve winter roadways maintenance.
    Abstract
    During a research project previously funded by MATC, a simple and economical test using a martini shaker for ice melting capacity evaluation showed good potential to become a standardized test. The development of the shaker test was prompted by the inconsistent results from the SHRP ice melting capacity test. Further, there is a general interest within winter maintenance community (e.g., Clear Roads and TRB Committee AHD65) to further develop the shaker test into a deicing chemicals test protocol. A number of parameters of the testing procedure need to be precisely specified to ensure repeatability and consistency and expanded to cover common weather and roadway conditions. The automated vehicle location (AVL) and the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) systems installed on some of the plow trucks by Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) worked very well the first time in winter 2010 at recording vehicle locations and weather data. However, some essential data regarding the deicer type, application rate of deicer, and dispensing equipment used during an event were incomplete. The MDSS information and field data are crucial for correlation analyses with shaker test data. The information gathered from winters 2010 through 2012 from this project will provide an adequate database with statistical significance for correlation studies. The findings will be used to develop guidelines for efficient winter roadways maintenance operations involving the use of deicing chemicals.
    Guidelines for best practices under various weather and roadway conditions will improve snow removal operations and to provide adequate level of service and safety to the general public on the U.S. surface transportation system.
    Project Amount
    $ 41,327