Q:

What sort of substance can you put on a sidewalk to make ice melt?

A:

Quick Answer

Salt and de-icers are substances that can be used to melt ice on a sidewalk. Salt can melt ice at temperatures up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures lower than 15 degrees Fahrenheit, specially formulated low-temperature de-icers can be used.

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Full Answer

De-icers are typically made from one or a blend of the following products: calcium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, urea and calcium magnesium acetate. Calcium chloride is a traditional choice for melting ice and works until temperatures reach minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Potassium chloride works well mixed with rock salt to a temperature as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Urea melts ice until temperatures reach 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Calcium magnesium acetate, made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid, works well in melting ice.

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