ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Safe Travels: Standards Help to De-Ice Slick Surfaces

New York, Jan 23, 2008

Whether traveling by plane, train, or automobile, inclement weather is a major transportation safety concern. Heavy snowstorms grab attention, but icy, slick conditions pose an even greater danger to travelers because the extent of the hazard is not always apparent. From the sidewalk to the tarmac, standards offer guidance on effective de-icing products and procedures.

One of the most familiar winter sights is a sprinkling of salt on the sidewalk. This straightforward solution works through freezing point depression, where the water’s freezing point is lowered as the salt dissolves, effectively melting the surrounding ice.

Two of the most frequently used de-icing salts, sodium chloride and calcium chloride, are covered in a pair of specifications from ASTM International, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ASTM D98-05, Standard Specification for Calcium Chloride, and ASTM D632-01, Standard Specification for Sodium Chloride, set forth physical and chemical requirements for both compounds, and also provide information about the use of these chemicals as de-icers.

Though salt is a highly effective de-icer, residents of wintry locales are all too familiar with the corrosive damage it can inflict upon roads, buildings, and vehicles. A standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides a controlled laboratory corrosion test for metals that have been sprayed with a salt solution. Developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 156, ISO 16701:2003, Accelerated corrosion test involving exposure under controlled conditions of humidity cycling and intermittent spraying of a salt solution, is especially suitable when comparing the corrosive properties of different de-icing compounds. ASTM International serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to ISO TC 156.

To remove and prevent ice build-up from airplanes and tarmacs, a specially designed de-icing fluid is used instead of salt. A trio of standards from ANSI member and accredited standards developer SAE International covers the materials and methods used to protect aircraft and airports from ice hazards. SAE AMS 1424H, Deicing/Anti-Icing Fluid, Aircraft, SAE Type 1, covers a de-icing fluid that offers time-limited protection against deposits of frost, ice, and snow on exterior aircraft surfaces. SAE AMS 1431B, Compound, Solid Runaway and Taxiway Deicing/Anti-Icing, and SAE AMS 1435A, Fluid, Generic, Deicing/Anti-Icing Runways and Taxiways, cover de-icing and anti-icing materials intended for use on airport aprons, runways, and taxiways. [see related article]

As much of the Midwestern U.S. braces for freezing rain and snowy conditions through the end of this week, Cincinnati road crews are testing a new secret weapon against icy roads and highways. Their mixture of beet juice, sodium chloride, and calcium chloride reduces the freezing point of water even further, and is less corrosive and damaging to cars and asphalt than salt alone. If proven effective, the beet juice solution also holds promise for children nationwide, who now have a legitimate excuse to avoid eating the oft-maligned vegetable.

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