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Understanding the Effectiveness of Non-Chloride Liquid Agricultural By-Products and Solid Complex Chloride/Mineral Products Used in Snow and Ice Control Operations

Project #: 4W4758
Start Date: 12/17/2013
End Date: 03/31/2016
Status: Completed

The final report contains a Best Practices Manual, which includes the following: parameters for effective use of agricultural and mineral by-products based on analysis of the existing literature, survey responses, and lab testing; specifications that can be used in procurement for each product; and application and storage guidelines.


More effective and efficient snow and ice control chemicals could result in significant economic, environmental, and social benefits. DOTs are interested in exploring alternatives to traditional materials such as abrasives and road salts.  In this context, non-chloride liquid agricultural by-products and other unconventional products have seen increasing applications in anti-icing and deicing formulations over the last two decades. They have been used as additives to traditional products for corrosion inhibition and/or performance enhancement, or in some cases, as stand-alone treatments for ice and snow prevention. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of such products has been limited to qualitative field observations and their specific role in snow and ice control is poorly understood. There remains an urgent need to systematically examine their overall effectiveness, corrosion and environmental impacts, and potential benefits in enhancing anti-icing and/or deicing.

Potential users need quantifiable research to validate performance of alternative products and verify the chemical or physical processes by which such products are of value in winter road maintenance. The research will include a literature search, a survey of experts, and laboratory testing. The research results will be translated into specifications for the procurement and testing of such products as well as guidelines for their effective use.

This project is sponsored by Clear Roads, an ongoing pooled fund research project aimed at rigorous testing of winter maintenance materials, equipment and methods for use by highway maintenance crews. Clear Roads will fund and oversee the contract for this project in coordination with MnDOT.


The objectives of this research are to determine and document the effectiveness and impacts of non-chloride liquid agricultural by-products and solid complex chloride/mineral products used in snow and ice control operations, and to investigate the mechanisms by which these products contribute to anti-icing, deicing, and corrosion inhibition.