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Salt Brine Additives: Common Types and Why You Should Use Them

Salt Brine Additives: Common Types and Why You Should Use Them

Justin Rollin

If you run a business in or reside in a cold climate, you know that using salt brine for roads, parking lots, and sidewalks is an effective way to keep them safe during the winter months. It has a lower freezing point than traditional bulk salt, which can help prevent snow and ice from sticking to surfaces. To further enhance its performance, you can add liquid additives to salt brine— which is what we’ll be discussing in this article. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about salt brine additives below.

What Is Salt Brine?

Salt brine is a NaCl (rock salt) and water mixture, that’s mixed to 23.3% salinity to achieve maximum results. As salt brine has a lower freezing point than pure water, it helps to reduce the adhesion of snow and ice to the surface of the road or pavement. Companies that use salt brine during the winter rely on it to decrease the likelihood of snow and ice bonding to the pavement, making it an integral part of winter maintenance and safety.

Common Uses of Salt Brine

There are three main uses of salt brine for roads that we’ll cover below.

salt brine enhancer

1. Prewetting

As we’ve mentioned, rock salt needs to mix with the snow and ice (water) before it starts melting. Prewetting the rock salt with water or liquid additive before it is applied to the surface, speeds up the melting process. This mixture can be pre-mixed beforehand or wet at the spinner on the truck to properly combine.

2. Anti-icing

Anti-icing is another approach for using salt brine for roads. It’s a liquid ice control that’s put down before the snow or ice event to prevent a bond from forming on its surface. The application rate is 50 percent of that of de-icing and it remains on the surface, working to prevent the bonding from taking place to make the removal of ice and snow easier.

3. De-icing

Salt brine can also be used for de-icing. This occurs once the weather event, whether that be ice, snow, or freezing rain, has already started. As soon as the ice has formed, the de-icing process can begin. As the name suggests, de-icing is the process of removing snow or ice from the surface. This process requires a higher volume of salt brine to be effective because the bond has already formed between the pavement and the ice.

What Is a Brine Additive?

Salt brine additives are a component of the liquid de-icing blend that help improve one or more of its existing properties. These additives are also referred to as agricultural by-products or organic by-product enhancers (OBPE). Most popularly, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, are used as additives to lower the standard salt brine melting temperature of 15-20º Fahrenheit.

Why Use Additives with Your Salt Brine?

Even though most de-icing products already contain the needed ingredients to be effective, they can benefit from additives. By adding sugars and carbohydrates to the brine, it acts as a tackifier to increase the longevity of the brine. This ensures that the brine better sticks to the surface and doesn’t blow away during inclement weather.

Here are some benefits of using additives:

  • Can reduce de-icing application rates
  • Increases de-icing performance
  • Reduces corrosion
  • Reduces the freezing point of salt brine
  • Increases surface stickiness, allowing you to spray surfaces with more lead time before a storm
  • Less runoff

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Common Types of Salt Brine Additives

1. Calcium and Magnesium Chloride

Many companies utilize calcium and/or magnesium chloride which makes traditional salt brine more effective at melting snow and ice by lowering the melting temperatures.

2. AMP

AMP is a combination of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium chlorides. It is formulated to lower the salt brine’s wording temperature to below 10⁰F and protects against corrosion.

3. Headwaters HOT

This is a calcium-based product that is biodegradable, which reduces the chlorides released into the environment. It melts up to 57% more ice at 0⁰F and reduces corrosion by 70%.

What to Consider Before Buying Salt Brine Additives

Before you move forward with buying a liquid additive for your salt brine, there are many factors that you should consider.

  • Education: Educating yourself about the company that you’re purchasing from is pivotal in making the right decision. Are they reputable? Will they sell you the best product for your needs? In the same vein, educating your team is also important. They should understand the consequences of misapplication, the proper way to apply the product to reduce waste, how to mix the product, application rates, etc.
  • Location: Where is the product coming from? The location will impact the rate that you pay, so be sure to find a suitable and cost-effective solution.
  • Purchase volume: Will you be purchasing the product in totes or in bulk? If in bulk, do you have a storage tank to put the product in?
  • DOT approval: If you are a local or municipal government, you’ll need to make sure that the product is DOT approved.
  • Seasonal availability: Will the product be readily available throughout the year?

salt brine additives

How Much Does Salt Brine Cost?

The cost of salt brine is heavily dependent on whether you’re purchasing it through a third party or making it yourself. On average, it can cost anywhere from 30 cents to $1 per gallon. The more you purchase at once, the cheaper it will be.

In addition to the price per gallon, you should also consider the other factors that add to your overall expense. The cost of application should also be considered including the equipment, labor, and fuel costs.

Is Brine Less Corrosive Than Rock Salt?

Because rock salt is the same thing as brine, they are technically equally as corrosive. However, when additives are involved, the corrosiveness can be reduced by up to 70%. This is a major motivator for many companies to purchase additives as they can help make the overall process of road and winter safety significantly more cost-effective.

Stock Up on Salt Brine Additives at Ninja De-Icer!

Salt brine additives are a great way to effectively treat ice and snow affordably. Use it to reduce de-icing application rates and increase surface stickiness. If you’re looking for liquid additives or salt brine for sale, our team at Ninja De-Icer is here to help! Get in touch with our team to learn more about how we can assist you with keeping your property safe this winter and beyond.