Chris Tuan, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska, has designed a new type of “de-icing” concrete with a small electric current that generates enough heat to melt snow and ice from its surface, according to Building Design & Construction.
The concrete has been in use in a 150-foot bridge near Lincoln, NE, since 2002, and it has reportedly been successful in melting snow and ice.
Tuan’s recipe of 20% steel shavings and carbon particles allows the concrete to conduct electricity. When connected to a power source, the electrical resistance generates heat.
Watch a time-lapse video of the concrete melting snow from its surface after a winter storm here.
The ice-melting concrete’s cost, however, is more than double regular concrete, at $300 per cubic yard, BD&C reported.
Although Tuan has been working on the product for years, it has been scoring media attention recently, especially after the major winter storm in the Northeast. Tuan said his concrete is not meant to be used on entire roadways but only on areas where ice accumulates.
“De-icing concrete is intended for icy bridges, street intersections, interstate exit ramps, and where accidents are prone to take place,” Tuan told the university in an interview.
Tuan said that although airports would not use the de-icing concrete for runways, they could still use it in certain areas that normally might create weather delays, such as the tarmac surrounding the gated areas.