Icy roads are one of the biggest challenges brought by the winter season. In countries where temperature falls below zero during the cold season the use of ice-covered roads can not only be difficult, but also very dangerous. A team from Koc University developed what may lead to a long-term solution to this problem.

Led by Dr. Seda Kizilel, researchers at Koc University developed a new type of road surface that can prevent ice from forming. The scientists mixed salt potassium formate with styrene-butadiene-styrene, which is water-repelling polymer. The created mixture was added to bitumen, known as the main ingredient of asphalt. The result material is noted to be as strong as regular bitumen, but with the ability to keep surfaces free of ice.

‘The results demonstrate the potential of this polymer composite-modified bitumen for anti-icing functionality and for industrially relevant applications,’ the team explained.

In lab tests, the new asphalt mixture continued to release ice melting salts for a period of almost two months, but the scientists believe that in actual road this period can be extended to years.

The work of the scientist has been funded by Turkish Petroleum Refineries. The research paper was published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.