Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I think this would be a great thing to not do.

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Snow melter

Snow removal
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Guys and Gals, I have an idea for removing snow from your driveway or sidewalks. It's relatively simple. I would take an old mower sans engine. Possibly remove the wheels and replace with skiis, not sure though- if this works, then you will need the wheels! Anyway, I digress; basically, I want to melt the snow instead of shovelling it. I would weld the scoop part of a snow shivel to the front of the lawnmower, snow plow style. In the center of the old mower, where the engine was, I would place a storage cell, heavily insulated (R40 or higher). This would contain liquified saltpeter or some other salt. It would be liquified via either a blow torch or an electric heater or some other source of heat. There would be copper tubes running from the storage cell to the back of the snow shovel blade. I envision these as being welded to the back of the shovel blade and the rear of the blade being heavily insulated also. A temperature operated switch would return the fluid for re-heating when the fluid behind the blade gets below a certain level (say, 250F or so) I want the snow to literally steam off of the blade! I also would have some copper tubing exposed below the mower/melter to melt any snow/ice that gets in from the sides. I want to make it as simple as possible, hence no electric usage, but a small battery and fan could speed up the melting process somewhat I suppose. Comments?
bald1, Oct 10 2007

The Steamblower The_20Steamblower
Here you go, [bald1]. Welcome to the HB. [bungston, Oct 10 2007]

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       Someone around here had a similar idea: melt it all and let God sort it out. I think there was math showing the amount of energy needed to melt a small parking lot. Good light reading. Lets see if I can link it up.
bungston, Oct 10 2007

       How do you stop all the meltwater freezing back into ice on the road surface?
wagster, Oct 10 2007

       Yes, I remember doing the sums for a very similar idea in the past which needed about 3MW of power...
hippo, Oct 11 2007

       Read lurch's comments on the steam diesel riding mower (?) (The Steamblower, thanks bungston!)physics were right on--what I really needed to know if it would work or not. Thanx. I guess you could use a squegee and push the water off of the driveway/ out of the way. Not sure how much power would be stored in the liquid salt, but I do know that the denser the salt the more the thermal storage the more snow you can melt. Stay tuned, I'm going to make this soon and I'll let ya'll know the results.
bald1, Oct 11 2007

       I prefer your next idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2007


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