Evaluation of the Effects of Deicers on Concrete Durability

Deicers can affect concrete both physically, causing cracking and scaling, and chemically, reducing mass and compression strength. Rock salt (i.e., sodium chloride) has been the primary deicing chemical used on Wisconsin’s highways and is well known to damage concrete. Recently, there have been two changes to the use of deicers. First, newer, aggressive chemicals are being used-calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and agricultural by-products such as beet juice-resulting in a significant reduction in the compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and micro-hardness of concrete. Studies indicate calcium chloride and magnesium chloride cause significant deterioration-scaling, cracking, mass loss and compressive strength loss compared with sodium chloride. Secondly, many agencies now use “anti-icing” practices in which concentrated liquid solutions are applied to dry the pavement before snowfalls. This causes more chemicals to be absorbed, since dry concrete is more absorbent. Sutter et al. (2008) and other studies showed potential and conclusive evidence that calcium chloride and magnesium chloride deicers negatively affect concrete in both freeze-thaw and no-freeze environments. While it is clear deicers negatively affect concrete, limited information is available to discern the effects newer deicers and “anti-icing” practices have on Wisconsin’s concrete highways compared with rock salt. The objectives of this project are to investigate commonly used deicers and their contents and identify their potential adverse impacts this study will: (1) conduct a literature review assessment of current practices at other state departments of transportation (DOTs); (2) perform a follow-up study to investigate deicer use and its impact; and (3) conduct a field survey of Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) concrete slabs to evaluate and confirm the effect(s) of the deicers on concrete durability. WisDOT will be provided with a list of commonly used deicers. Each deicer will be assigned a specific level of impact. Deicer and “anti-icing” recommendations will also be provided and will consider the public’s safety first, in addition to the benefits to concrete performance, roadway conditions and cost savings.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation

    4802 Sheboygan Avenue
    Madison, WI  United States  53707
  • Project Managers:

    Hayes, Chad

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Wisconsin, Platteville

    Department of Civil Engineering, 1 University Plaza
    Platteville, WI  United States  53818-3099
  • Principal Investigators:

    Xiao, Danny

  • Start Date: 20161023
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180423
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01622269
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 0092-17-03
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 10 2017 12:20PM