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Old 01-11-2018, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Idaho
5,607 posts, read 5,627,637 times
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I was driving northbound on the 15 the other day between IF and Dubois when it was raining/snowing and passed a slow-moving snow plow in the number 1 lane. There was an illuminated sign on the back of the snowplow advising caution and that they were spraying something on the road to help melt the ice, (can't remember the actual wording). My questions are:

1.) What chemical compound were they spraying?

2.) Could it damage the undercarriage of automobiles if not regularly washed off?

Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
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It was probably a rock salt/water mix. It's possible that granulated phosphate fertilizer may be used instead of salt, as it's also a good de-icer and is cheap in Idaho due to the phosphate mines here.

Either the phosphate or rock salt is a lot more corrosive when applied dry than when it's mixed with water, and a wet mix also works better to de-ice than the solids, which tend to scatter quickly to the sides of the roadway.

I first saw it used up in B.C. about 15 years ago; apparently, the Canadians first experimented with a wet spray, and it was widely used up there. It's much less harmful to car finishes and the undersides than the solid stuff, and sand doesn't ever work for very long.
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