Research Challenge 2:
Another alternative is other chemical forms of salt. Normal road salt is sodium chloride (NaCl). Many homeowners buy de-icing products that claim to be less corrosive and more environmentally friendly than road salt. Usually these consist of either magnesium or calcium chloride (MgCl2 or CaCl2). Because of cost, these products generally are not feasible for widespread use on highways.
In recent years, a new product called Ice Ban Magic has been introduced and is being field tested by highway departments in some towns in upstate New York. A by-product of commercial brewing and food production, Ice Ban Magic is a biodegradable liquid similar to molasses. It can be spread directly on roads or mixed with sand or road salt.
Design and carry out an experiment to assess the environmental effects of road salt or a road salt substitute. You may use one of the following questions, or create your own:
Before you begin, we encourage you to call your local highway department and ask what methods are used for highway de-icing in your community -- perhaps you can design an experiment based on your own local roads program.