Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ice erecting road nipples

There when you need them.
  [vote for,

This invention was inspired by the ice-activated exploding dirtbags in the linked "Ice Power" idea.

Sloped paths or stairs are often prone to ice buildup and must be rigourously salted or gritted to prevent pedestrians from slipping when there is ice. I propose that these paths be made with built in rough nubs. In warm weather the nubs are flush with the path surface. Under each nub is a cylinder of water. When it gets cold and there is ice on the path, the cylinder will freeze, slightly elevating the nubs. This will break up the ice on the path and improve traction. When things warm up, the nubs will settle back as the ice cylinder melts.

I made the title a little more lascivious, as I feel my more recent ideas have had poor attendance due to prosaic names.

bungston, Apr 30 2004

Ice power http://www.halfbake...om/idea/Ice_20Power
Inspiration! [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

To keep them from freezing http://www.nznature...urnipplewarmers.jpg
[Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       So you'll get sued by people tripping over the nubs, instead of slipping on the ice?
DrCurry, Apr 30 2004

       Not to mention for violating public decency laws.   

       I don't think the nubs would have to be large enough to be tripped over.
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2004

       once the nubs were frozen in the elevated position couldn't a new layer of ice just form over them?
xclamp, Apr 30 2004

       Wouldn't the water inside freeze before it gets covered in ice?
Spider7, Apr 30 2004

       Actually, that does raise a science question: does the ground freeze first or the water lying on it? If it's the ground, then nubs will rise before the surface water freezes, the water will flow around the raised nubs, and then freeze in place. If the nubs are low enough not to trip over, then they'll be under the surface of the ice, and will make no difference in the general scheme of things.
DrCurry, Apr 30 2004

       If the water is in place during the freezing process, it will always freeze before the ground. Of course, this isn't always (or perhaps even often) the case.   

       Your ice must be deeper than mine.
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2004

       My original scheme for this was to have the erecting water cylinders full of saltwater to ensure they would freeze after the freshwater on the overlying path.
bungston, Apr 30 2004

       Not straight saltwater, I hope - then they would deploy only in very cold weather, leaving a full 32° F range where ice forms and the ice-breakers don't. But of course this would be complicated by the surface water being contaminated with the salt laid down to prevent icing.
DrCurry, Apr 30 2004

       Even if it freezes too soon, this will still provide some level of extra traction if it is taller than the ice.
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2004

       See first note...   

       [In case anyone gets the wrong impression, I actually think this is a good idea, and it has my vote. It just needs some real world R&D.]
DrCurry, Apr 30 2004

       See second part of second note
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2004

       and you are painting them? any colour? <looks at nails>
po, Apr 30 2004

       Actually, if the sides were painted red it would provide a visual cue that 1: the nipples were erect - dont stub your toe and 2: the path might be icy. I seem to recall an idea here for road paint that would be visible when frozen, to warn for black ice.
bungston, Apr 30 2004

       purple/green/sparkly :)
po, Apr 30 2004

       I swear you guys have read the same old issue of Omni.   

       In the late 70s/early 80s, I read the article about uses for nitinol. One under development was triggering freeze warnings on road surfaces (see my anno on that idea - this plan lit up roadside "Freezing Conditions" signs, and broadcast a signal to a central location). There was also a plan under development to use nitinol to raise treads on surfaces at the freezing point.   

       Exactly the same two ideas.
waugsqueke, Apr 30 2004


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