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Best Practices and Guidelines for Protecting DOT Equipment from the Corrosive Effect of Chemical Deicers

Started: January, 2011 Ended: September, 2012 Project ID #4W3494 Status: Completed

Results & Findings

As described in the final report, the survey results suggest that chloride-based deicers are the most commonly used products for highway winter maintenance operations and pose significant corrosion risk to DOT equipment and vehicles. The survey results show that chloride deicers pose the most significant risk of metallic corrosion to dump trucks followed by liquid deicer applicators, front end loaders and hoppers. Most metallic components on vehicles and equipment are very vulnerable to chloride deicer corrosion, and this risk is especially high for electrical wiring, frames, brackets and supports, brake air cans, brake drums and disks, spreader chute, fittings, and granular hopper. Cast irons have seen the most serious general corrosion, followed by carbon steels, composites, and magnesium alloys. Aluminum alloys and stainless steels have seen the most serious localized corrosion, followed by metallic glass, metallic coatings, and magnesium alloys. The agency survey identified annual expenditures in the current practices of managing deicer-related metallic corrosion in the equipment fleet of responding agencies that report it as being a significant issue. The agency survey also identified the current risks and annual costs of deicer corrosion to the equipment fleet of responding agencies that report it as being a significant issue, estimated under the current level of corrosion management. The final report summarizes the results of laboratory testing of and environmental exposure studies of corrosion inhibitors and related practices. The report also provides implementation recommendations for departments of transportation.


The objective of this project was to identify, evaluate and synthesize best practices that can be implemented to minimize the effects of deicer corrosion on DOT winter vehicles and equipment, such as design improvements, maintenance practices, and the use of coatings and corrosion inhibitors.


This study identified, evaluated and synthesized the best practices that can be implemented to minimize the corrosive effects of chloride deicers on DOT winter application equipment and vehicles. The practices identified include: design improvements, maintenance practices, anti-corrosion coatings, corrosion inhibitors, salt removers, etc. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to gather existing research documents that are relevant to the corrosion of metals by chloride salts, with a focus on corrosion under neutral pH conditions and under ambient temperature and pressure. A nationwide survey was conducted of stakeholder groups, in order to capture the current knowledge in: estimating the deicer corrosion costs to vehicles and equipment, defining the chloride deicer corrosion problem and identifying best practices or products for managing the problem.


Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Alaska University Transportation Center (AUTC) Sponsor

Part of: Winter Maintenance and Effects, Cold Climate Operations & Systems, Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory

Project Tagged In: corrosion prevention, deicers

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