Frequently Asked Questions
There are many claims made about ice melters, but separating misinformation from facts can be difficult. Following are frequently asked questions we receive related to highway ice melting applications and answers that will help to dispel myths and make it easier to make informed choices.* For answers to more general questions, see more FAQs on the OxyChem calcium chloride website.
Will deicing with calcium chloride products damage my concrete?
How does the corrosiveness of calcium chloride compare to that of other deicers?
Can damage result from corrosion of rebar when chloride-based deicers are used on concrete structures, such as bridges and parking garages?
What materials of construction are recommended for storing liquid calcium chloride solutions?
Is calcium chloride safe for use near grassy areas and other vegetation?
How can I obtain sales specifications for OxyChem calcium chloride products?
Q: Will deicing with calcium chloride products damage concrete?
A: OxyChem calcium chloride products are recommended for deicing asphalt and concrete surfaces that have been designed and constructed for winter weather conditions and deicer usage. OxyChem calcium chloride products will not chemically attack asphalt or concrete.
Melt water from the deicing process may soak into porous concrete and re-freeze, creating pressure within the concrete structure. Concrete that lacks strength to withstand this pressure may spall or scale. Concrete is resistant to scaling damage if it is air-entrained, mixed, placed and cured according to the recommendations of the American Concrete Institute Committee 201.
Q: How does the corrosiveness of calcium chloride compare to that of other deicers?
A: Because corrosion is a very complex issue, very few simple answers are accurate across all real-world situations. One of the few generalizations that can be made is that common types of bare metal exposed to chloride typically experience an increased rate of corrosion. In general, there is little difference in corrosion performance between the various chloride-based deicers, including rock salt (sodium chloride), magnesium chloride and calcium chloride.
Some vendors may cite a particular lab test to support claims that one chloride-based deicer product is “less corrosive” than another. However, lab tests often fail to accurately represent real-world performance. Good science does not support attempts to differentiate the corrosion performance of one chloride-based deicer versus another.
Non-chloride deicers are less corrosive than chloride-based deicers. However, their deicing performance is relatively weak and there are certain situations where even these expensive products can be associated with corrosion problems.
Q: Can damage result from corrosion of rebar when chloride-based deicers are used on concrete structures, such as bridges and parking garages?
A: Chloride ions from deicing salts can permeate porous concrete. When chloride, oxygen and moisture come together on the surface of unprotected steel reinforcement (rebar) embedded in concrete, corrosion will result. Rust formation on rebar places pressure on the concrete that can result in cracking, spalling and delamination. The loss of bond between concrete and reinforcing steel and the loss of rebar cross-sectional area both have the potential to result in serious structural problems.
Companies and trade organizations with expertise in concrete construction technology are familiar with options available for corrosion protection in new or rehabilitated structures. With support from these experts, each end user should determine whether or not application of chloride-based deicers is appropriate for their given situation.
Q: What materials of construction are recommended for storing liquid calcium chloride solutions?
A: The preferred material of construction for large liquid storage tanks is carbon steel with an epoxy-based interior coating and a durable, high-quality coating on the exterior. Non-metallic materials, such as fiberglass or plastic, work well for smaller tanks storing product at ambient temperature; however, these materials are not as durable as carbon steel and they lose strength at high temperature.
For additional information refer to the publication, Calcium Chloride: A Guide to Handling and Storage
Q: Is calcium chloride safe for use near grassy areas and other vegetation?
A: Under typical application conditions, calcium chloride will not damage grass or vegetation adjacent to a surface being deiced. As with fertilizer and any other deicer, it is possible for grass to be damaged if the chloride-based deicer is over-applied or large quantities are directly applied to the grass or vegetation. Roadside damage to conifers caused by contact with chloride-containing mist from high-speed tire action is a potential issue with highway applications of any chloride-based deicer.
For additional information, see: A Review of Deicers and their Effect on Vegetation
Q: How can I obtain sales specifications for OxyChem calcium chloride products?
A: View sales specifications using the product links below.
Anhydrous 94-97% Mini Pellets
Animal Feed Grade Calcium Chloride Pellets
BRINERS CHOICE™ Anhydrous Calcium Chloride Pellets
COMBOTHERM™ Blended Deicer
Calcium Chloride 83-87% Granulated
DOWFLAKE™ Xtra 83-87% Calcium Chloride Flakes
Food Grade Anhydrous 94-97% Calcium Chloride Pellets
LIQUIDOW™ Technical Grade Calcium Chloride Solution
LIQUIDOW™ Food Grade Calcium Chloride Solution
PELADOW™ DG Calcium Chloride Briquettes
PELADOW™ Premier Snow & Ice Melter
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*This information is not intended to be all-inclusive as to the manner and conditions of use, handling, storage, disposal and other factors that may involve other or additional legal, environmental, safety or performance considerations, and OxyChem assumes no liability whatsoever for the use of or reliance upon this information. While our technical personnel will be happy to respond to questions, safe handling and use of the product remains the responsibility of the customer. No suggestions for use are intended as, and nothing herein shall be construed as, a recommendation to infringe any existing patents or to violate any Federal, State, local or foreign laws.