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Rock Street, San Francisco

Deicer, a method to prevent or remove ice, is scattered around on the sidewalk, ridding snow. Since the freezing point of salt water is a lower temperature than pure water, scattering some salt upon ice or snow helps to quicken the process of melting. What happenes next to the 20 million tons of sodium chloride (our most popular method of deicer) used each winter (which is 13 times more salt than is used by the entire food processing industry) is often ignored, though its effects on the enviornment are tremendous.Traditional deicer is wreaking havoc on all parts of nature. When the salt is washed away with the melted snow it flows into streams and lakes, polluting the water. A region of Minnesota found that a colossal 70 percent of the salt applied to snow now lies in the region’s natural water sources, harming sea life and making the water undrinkable. Deicer in water can also escalate the growth of harmful algae blooms. “The high algae growth and bacteria population will decrease the amount of freshwater plants and essentially take over the environment.” To create a safe habitat for all organisms, reducing the amount of sodium chloride deicer used is a good place to start, as it not only contatiminates water, but it is negatively affecting roadside shrubbery, even those located 650 feet away from the street. These unfortunately located plants are now developing symptoms “similar to those of a drought; stunted growth, brown and falling leaves/needles, dying limbs, and premature plant depths due to the high amounts of deicer nearby,” not to mention how harmful it is to the neighboring wildlife. On account of all of these unfavorable impacts on our enviornment, our group has decided to take on the challenge of making an eco-friendly diecer. Our goal is to find a way to use common household objects to reduce the amount of road salt being used. While we are aware that no one will immediatly start dumping pickle juice on the streets of New York, we want to inform others that the items lying in their pantry could very well be part of the solution to some of Earth’s biggest problems.With the independent variable of the investigation, different types of deicer will be tested. Thecontrol of the experiment will be one of the most popular and most damaging types of deicer, road salt. We will see how fast this melts the crushed ice, and see if any of the eco-friendly options work the same or even quicker. Pickles brine can melt ice at temperatures as low as -6°F (-21°C), similiar to traditional deicer, but it’s benefits extend beyond those of salt as prevents snow and ice from attach to pavement, making the ice easier to break off and extract. Using beet juice as a deicer will lower the amount of deicer used, as the bounce rate reduces from 30% to 5%, while also lowering the freezing point of water from from 5°F to -20°F.  Soy sauce may also work as “it’s a liquid with a high sodium content, it might work on thin ice in relatively warm temperatures.” Similiarly, potato juice may also be an efficient deicer, as even in low temperatures, the juice does not freeze. While the unique deicers may not do their job as well as the traditional road salt,  hoping that the enviornmentally friendly side will outweigh any of unconviences.For the dependent variable, the procedure includes measuring how long each deicer takes for the crushed ice to melt. For each of the 10 trials for our four levels and control, the amount of seconds, or minutes, it takes for each pile of crushed ice to completely melt will be timed, recorded, and graphed. From there, the most effective, most enviornmentally friendly deicer will be determinded, and hopefully integrated into everday practices in terms of melting snow.

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