How Does Salt Melt Snow?

What Happens When Ice Meets Salt?


“Rock salt crystals” by włodi is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By: Madeline Seminaro, Journalist

How Salt Melts Snow:

Why does salt, a component that seasons our foods, melt ice? This all starts with frozen water, that is what snow an ice are made up of after all. Overnight the snow melts and refreezes, becoming slick and very dangerous for drivers. What salt does is that it lowers the freezing point around the grain of salt. Then the ice and snow melt because the salt lowers the freezing point by dissolving the top layer of liquid water. More saline solution, more snow melting. Some use sand instead of salt. Instead of melting ice and snow, it lets the tires grip onto the ground more and the tires won’t slip.

ice on window
“ice on window” by pl1602 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

But what salt does does to the roads can have a negative effect too. More salt can cause pollution and grass nearby can die. Salt and sand mixture can also erode roads. So, if you don’t want your car to slip then totally go for it! This relates to engineering because the salt is chemically lowering the freezing temperature around it. Also, the ice was made from H2O and that involves the periodic table which essential for chemical engineers to know.