Technology

American engineer Chris Tuan discover ice-free concrete

No snow on highways? No flight cancellations due to snow? No frozen bridges? An invention of the American engineer Chris Tuan could ensure that roads, paths and bridges remain in the future always dry and ice-free.

Actually, it sounds quite simple: you take ordinary concrete, mix in a fifth metal chips and carbon particles, and the road surface is complete. The concrete is by adding electrically conductive and can heat therefore itself by snow and ice free.

Chris Tuan working many years on the material. But now, the development of the engineer from Nebraska University of seems to be that can be used in practice. In any case, the Federal Aviation Administration is currently testing it on airports.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is testing new concrete on airports

Tuan had firmly expected that the runways would be equipped with the special concrete. “To my surprise they want it but are not sure about results. You need it rather for the areas around the gates”, he says. There, there was so much traffic with tank cars, luggage transporters and food deliveries that disabilities on the roads often led to delays. “You say if we can heat this type of asphalt, then there are much fewer weather-related delays,” Tuan reported.

ice-free concrete
The engineer Chris Tuan has developed a conductive concrete under addition of powdered metal and carbon particles. Electrified, heats up the concrete and defrosts. Photo: Lincoln University Nebraska

The researcher is optimistic that this works. Finally, a bridge near the city of Lincoln provides the proof that the principle works already since the year 2002. 52 inlays made of conductive concrete were tested for five years successfully.

Less damage to roads. Salt and Chemicals are not friendly to our eco-system. Ice Free Concrete saves time and money.

Bridges are a particularly interesting applications of the material, because they are known to be particularly susceptible to frost. The researchers even admits that it would be barely affordable to build whole streets made of conductive concrete and connect to the mains.

But you could do it on some bridges where very often, there is ice. Would again partially offset the costs because fewer potholes need to be repaired “that often arise from the permissive use of salt or chemicals”.

ice-free route
In European union we are spending over 40,5b euro anally for de-iceing routes.

There is no need to operate the new underfloor heating: “the energy that it takes to melt the test bridge during a three-day snowstorm cost about $250.” That is a fraction of what would be needed for a truckload of chemicals,”says Tuan.

interestedly ice free concrete shield against unwanted frequencies protecting mobile devices.

By the way, the invention could have still a completely different benefits. Replace one electromagnetic waves the sand and limestone, which is used for concrete, usually through the mineral magnetite, then screens the material from, for example frequency range in which mobile phones send and receive. The engineer hopes that companies in this way become aware, to protect, for example, from industrial espionage. For now, he uses this function only in his own garden.