Posts tagged ‘snow’

Fertilizer Can Melt Snow and Ice

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you need to boil water while cooking, the recipe may suggest that you add salt to the water. This salt is not for taste, it’s for efficiency. The salt lowers the heat capacity of water, making it boil with less energy (heat) from your stove. It also raises the boiling point of the water slightly, although not significantly. In other words, it helps you get the water hotter and in less time than if you didn’t add salt.

Salt also has an affect on the freezing point of water — it lowers it. This is important to understand during winter, especially if you have a driveway or sidewalk to keep clear. Because salt lowers the heat capacity of water (or snow/ice), it’s takes less energy (heat) to melt. This only happens down to about 15°F (-9°C). Below that, salt is not very effective because it cannot dissolve at those temperatures.

Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the usually the cheapest of all the ice melting products. There are a variety of alternatives that are effective at lower temperatures.

You should be careful when choosing an ice melter. Most ice melting products, including salt, are corrosive and can damage concrete, especially if it’s very new concrete. They can also be harmful to vegetation and grass. (more…)

February 25, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Some Palm Trees Can Survive Freezing Winters

Palm trees usually symbolize warm and tropical climates. From Hollywood, we know the streets of Los Angeles and Miami are lined with beautiful palm trees. Hollywood portrays New York and Chicago as cold and windy, which they are for part of the year. But, there are real palm trees in both New York and Chicago.

New York has had palm trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden since the 1980s. Chicago has palms at the beach on Lake Michigan.

Although we closely associate palms trees with warm climates, there are a some palm species that can survive freezing winters.

Any variety of palm that can survive colder geographies that are not usually considered palm regions, are called “hardy palms.” Many of them are native to higher elevations in Asia and survive freezing weather with little or no damage. (more…)

May 5, 2010 at 12:13 am 5 comments

Prevent Snow Buildup on Your Shovel

Snow can be wet and sticky. Shoveling that heavy snow is bad enough without extra snow buildup on the shovel. The secret is to lightly spray the inside of your dry shovel with WD-40.

“WD” stands for Water Displacement and it is the fortieth attempt at developing a substance to prevent rust and corrosion on the Atlas missile and rocket family. Basically, it was developed by rocket scientists.  So, if you need to displace water (snow) then this is your answer.

There is a rumor that WD-40 is based on fish oil, but it is in fact a petroleum based product. The exact formula is such a big secret, it is not even patented, which means the ingredients are not publicly documented. Although, with some digging I found a Material Safety Data Sheet, which is required in some countries in case someone swallows it or gets it in their eyes.  The two main ingredients are Aliphatic Hydrocarbon and the Petroleum Base Oil.

It also looks like they brought some of those rocket scientists back to develop a straw that is impossible to misplace (see photo).

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: WD-40, JobSite

December 22, 2009 at 12:35 am 3 comments

Rear Fog Lights

Most North American cars have one set of bright lights on the back, of course those are the brake lights.  But some American cars and most European cars have other bright lights on the rear: rear fog lights.Rear fog light on an Audi

If you’re not familiar with this concept, then you probably assumed their lights were malfunctioning or their break lights were “stuck.”

Rear fog lights make it much easier for the vehicle behind you to see your car when fog, rain or snow is heavy.

Some rear fog lights are a pair of lights mounted low on the rear bumper.  Other cars have a single light, mounted near the driver’s side rear turn signal.

There are debates about the validity of rear fog lights.  Some claim they can be confused with brake lights, others agree but believe that is still safer than not seeing the vehicle until it is too late.

In the photo of the instrument cluster, the icon on the left is the front fog light indicator and on the right is the rear fog light indicator.

Some cars have separate switches for front and rear fogs, other cars have one switch that activates both.

Studies have shown that in North America more people inappropriately use their fog lamps in dry weather than use them properly in poor weather

BrokenSecrets.com

Photo Credit: mroach (Creative Commons)

Sources: DriveAndStayAlive.com Wikipedia SAE

December 1, 2009 at 1:35 am 2 comments


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