Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.

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Electric Driveway

No more shoveling snow, etc.
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

Electric rods in the blacktop (tarmac, whatever), attached to power source and thermostat, allow the driveway to maintain a +32 degrees F temperature, preventing formation of ice or accumulation of snow thereon.

No more sowing that messy, ineffective rock salt stuff. No more shoveling snow or breaking up ice. (Selling point: shoveling snow is a leading antecedent of heart attacks in older men.)

Attaching a timer is a real money saver; you only need your driveway heated up once or twice a day, really. Set it to start when you wake up and by the time you're ready to leave the house last night's snowfall won't slow you down a bit - until you get to the road, anyway.

Electric roads?

snarfyguy, May 30 2001

(?) With pictures, even. http://advancedheat...way1/driveway1.html
[beauxeault, May 30 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Ice Engineering at Dartmouth http://engineering....earch/ice-engg.html
...it can be done with surprisingly small currents using a technique researched here [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Compressor-less ice-less driveway. http://www.patentst...47-description.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 08 2007]


beauxeault, May 30 2001

snarfyguy, May 30 2001

       Seems like this would take a huge amount of power.   

       Of course, the power is probably derived from a heat source originally (nuclear or fossil fuels, heating water, turning a turbine). So why not just put the heat source directly onto the driveway, eliminating the inefficiencies of conversion and transmission?   

       A flaming, oil-soaked driveway would look neat but would be hard to drive on, so I propose mixing long-half-life radioactives into the driveway cement. (Pu oxide, say, like in a spacecraft RTG.) This would give a constant warmth to the driveway and keep it snow- and ice-free.
wiml, May 31 2001

       I don't know how things work everywhere else, but here they spray the roads with some kind of saltwater that seems to work fine.
AfroAssault, May 31 2001

       Or at least move your driveway somewhere warm.
beauxeault, May 31 2001

       I thought of this idea when I was 16, living in colorado, and in charge of keeping the driveway clear at -15f. He's got a good idea, just costly. Imho. Snow doesnt come that OFTEN, it just likes to stick around. So instead of using Rods to heat it up. simply run a metal Pipe snaked through the driveway before it's poured... Connect the pipe to the "dryer air output" of your washer and dryer. When it snows, dry your clothes, and in the same process , melt the driveway. No waste of energy.
Tag, Jul 11 2001

       The best way to warm, not heat a driveway is to run tubes just like the ones they use for under floor heating in a house,they are very resilient. And you would pump water mixed with anti freeze,a very efficient method would be to use a small water heater set at a very low temperature with a pump added to it. Of course this would have to be done before the driveway is laid.To prevent the tubes from being crushed during the laying of the asphalt you would fill them with water under pressure.
mike100, Jan 28 2002

       mike, you may want to have a word with abhi over in TIME VS ENERGY about water pressure.
thumbwax, Jan 28 2002

       Heated sidewalks and other outdoor concrete surfaces are baked. Can't be too terribly expensive, as many public universities in Minnesota have heated concrete slabs in front of a lot of doors, to keep them ice-free.
quarterbaker, Jan 28 2002

       I believe that Abhi's theories only apply to pumpless systems.The pump would would suck/push the water throught the entire grid, friction and or gravity would not be much of a factor.
mike100, Jan 29 2002

       There's so much hot air there, you wouldn't need any other energy source.
angel, Jan 29 2002

       This anno is coming a long time since the last one and that surprises me, as a solution to heavy snow loads on the driveway can't be bad. Having grown up in northern Ontario with a few years in northern Alberta thrown in for good measure I've done a bit of research into someday building a dream house. Snow removal is high on the list of priorities. I don't have time to find a link to go with this but I've read that if you run amonia filled pipes (I don't know what the amonia to air ratio would be) in a closed loops beneath your driveway and those pipes go below the frost line, then the amonia vaporizes as it goes below this point, rises to the surface of the loop bringing the heat with it, re-condenses with the cold at the surface starting the whole loop over again. No electricity needed, no maintenance, and best of all no shoveling, your driveway just steams all winter long.   

       [2 fries] the system you describe sounds great. While I was able to find reference to a geothermal deicing system for driveways, I wasn't able to find one like you described. Do you remember a company or specific product name? It'd be nice to post a link if one can be scrounged up.
bristolz, Oct 10 2002

       Some folks at Dartmouth have developed a thin film that uses tiny amounts of current to cause de-icing to occur without actually heating the surface it is adhered to. It works because ice is a lossy dielectric. See link for details.
krelnik, Nov 24 2002

       // Connect the pipe to the "dryer air output" of your washer and dryer. When it snows, dry your clothes, and in the same process , melt the driveway. //   

       I had this very thought while doing a wash during this weekend's snowstorm.
waugsqueke, Dec 08 2003

       I've seen an outdoor electric infrared fixture used to warm people on patios (probably similar to the infrared lamps used in hotel bathrooms). Anyhow, the surface is heated via the infrared radiation. Placing a series of these down a driveway (dark paved preferably) perhaps built into some decorative lighting fixtures may melt the snow and/or prevent the accumulation thereof.
BMCCUE, Nov 14 2005

       I finally found it [bris].
I wish it had been much, much sooner.


       And, OR . . . Combine technologies like the Halfbakery article: Driveway: Snowless, Automatic
WryGuy, Jul 19 2007


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