Novel Deicing Material Evaluation for Roadways and Bridges

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

Traditionally, the main priority of winter road maintenance has been assigned to level of service, cost-effectiveness, and infrastructure corrosion rather than other less well-characterized effects such as impacts to water quality. Thus, it is increasingly vital to understand the environmental footprint of deicers, including their impacts on aquatic ecosystems and transportation infrastructure. Chloride based deicers do not degrade in the natural environment and their application on pavements and bridges can lead to accumulation in adjacent environments over time. Moreover, their impact on bridge reinforced components is enormous considering that corrosion and spalling of these components affect the bridge structure and incur high maintenance and rehabilitation costs. This study will evaluate a novel chemical deicer, sodium propionate (SP), as a suitable deicing material for roadways and bridges. The material, which is a commonly used food additive, will be evaluated through a series of laboratory and field tests and in terms of costs, infrastructure corrosion, environmental effect, and effectiveness.

Urgency and Payoff

Provided that the proposed deicing chemical proves effective and easy to utilize, its long-term implementation can lead to sensitive cost savings in terms of deicing chemical applications, bridge rehabilitation, and environment protection (i.e., water sources, vegetation, soil, etc.) Furthermore, the material can be applied using conventional application equipment and methods thus no additional costs will be incurred.

Suggested By

Cristian Druta Va Tech Transp. Institute 540-231-1056

[email protected]