Why Is Salt the Best Way To Melt Snow On Roads?

When salt is sprinkled on snow, the freezing point of the ice (in the snow) gets lowered, which is why the snow or ice melts away. However, even this technique of sprinkling salt to melt snow won’t work if the temperature is below -16 degrees Celsius.

Salt, in a way, is the sweetest thing in the world. Now, I don’t mean sweet like sugar; I just mean that salt is a hugely important part of our lives. It is an absolute necessity in many of the dishes that constitute our daily meals. Not only that, but salt has many other applications that which are pretty unexpected and exciting. For example, salt is used to melt the snow that accumulates on roads and sidewalks! Without salt, our winter wonderlands would be a lot more difficult to navigate!

How Does Salt Melt Snow?

Salt lowers the freezing point of ice. Under normal conditions, the freezing point of ice is 0 degrees Celsius, but the freezing point of sea water (which is saline, due to the presence of salt in it) is lower (-2.2 degrees Celsius).

When salt is sprinkled on snow, the freezing point of the ice (in the snow) gets lowered, which is why the snow or ice melts away. However, even this technique of sprinkling salt to melt snow won’t work if the temperature is below -16 degrees Celsius.

Why Does Salt Lower the Freezing Point?

bhmbm
The answer to that is quite simple. A water molecule is made up of 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom, which link together strongly to form ice. When salt (NaCl), which possesses Sodium atoms, comes in contact with them, it becomes difficult for the Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms to combine to form ice. Therefore, our streets and roads can be cleared, and we’re left with a salty landscape rather than a snowy one!

The short URL of the present article is: http://sciabc.us/WPzKw
Help us make this article better

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

.
Science ABC YouTube Videos

  1. Why Do We Find Babies Cute?Why Do We Find Babies Cute?
  2. How Cyclones Form? Why Cyclones Spin AntiClockwise in Northern and Clockwise in Southern Hemisphere?How Cyclones Form? Why Cyclones Spin AntiClockwise in Northern and Clockwise in Southern Hemisphere?
  3. Why Is It Called "Dead" Sea? Why Does Everyone Float In This Sea?Why Is It Called "Dead" Sea? Why Does Everyone Float In This Sea?
  4. Lessons from a Jellyfish- How to live without a heart or a brainLessons from a Jellyfish- How to live without a heart or a brain
  5. How Do Sunflowers Face The Sun?How Do Sunflowers Face The Sun?
  6. Do bones decompose? How long does it take for bones to decompose?Do bones decompose? How long does it take for bones to decompose?
  7. Here's Why You Should NEVER Mix Bleach and AmmoniaHere's Why You Should NEVER Mix Bleach and Ammonia
  8. Why Don't We Have Pet Foxes?Why Don't We Have Pet Foxes?

Tags: