Project 27 - Heated Pavements-Phase Change Materials

Incorporating phase change materials in concrete pavement to melt snow and ice

November 2017 - Cement and Concrete Composites: This paper discusses the use of phase change materials (PCM) in concrete pavement as a method to store energy which can be used as a heat source during cooling events to melt ice/snow. The experimental program includes: (1) use of low-temperature differential scanning calorimetry to evaluate thermal properties of PCM, and (2) use of large-scale concrete slabs containing PCM to evaluate the ability of the PCM concrete to melt snow on the surface of the concrete pavement. The temperature in the concrete slabs and the snow melting rate were monitored as quantitative measurements of the efficiency of the PCM in the concrete. In addition, time-lapse images were taken. Two approaches were used to incorporate PCM in concrete: placing the PCM in lightweight aggregate (LWA) which was then mixed into the concrete, and placing the PCM in embedded metal pipes embedded in the slab during concrete casting. In this study, paraffin oil was use as a PCM that is effective in releasing heat near the freezing temperature of PCM when the PCM undergoes a phase transformation from liquid to solid. The heat released during the phase transformation can melt ice and snow on the concrete pavement surface. The results indicate that incorporating PCM in concrete pavement is not only feasible, but also practical.

November 2017 - Cement and Concrete Composites