LetsTalkSnow.com - Addict
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NW Vermont, Milton
On the subject of "frozen" salt in general. I posted this in a thread on the subject over on the "Brand X" site. Decided I might as well add it here.
>>>OK,, I'm going to start a little argument here. I really doubt that a pile of salt can "freeze" in the sense that water freezes. Any moisture that is in the pile will dissolve a minute amount of the surface of the salt crystals. That will make a brine which would be a saturated solution, the moisture would "melt" as much salt as could be suspended in solution. The resulting brine would be very concentrated and not apt to "freeze" at any temperature we are apt to see, short of the polar regions, maybe.
But, let's assume a set of conditions are met. First we need a salt pile that is either wet by exposure to free water, (rain or snow) or has absorbed water from the atmosphere. The salt particles will be coated with a thin film of saturated brine at this point.
Second condition is cold air. Cold air will hold less moisture in the form of vapor than warm air will. So cold air will have less moisture per volume than warm air will.
Surround our damp salt pile with cold air and the moisture that is holding salt in a brine will now want to pass into the drier air surrounding the pile. As the moisture leaves the brine the brine becomes super saturated and precipitates out in the form of tiny salt crystals. These crystals act as cement to bond the salt granules in the pile into a solid mass.
The effect is a solid pile, whether it has "frozen" or glued itself together.
Magic will help prevent this, not by preventing thermal freezing but by keeping the tiny crystals from attaching as tightly to the piles' granules. I try to keep a stockpile of Magic treated salt on hand. Right now I'm just about out and am having to use plain salt.
I just went through an epsiode with solid pile of about a ton and a half. The material was damp when I treated and stockpiled it. Two days ago it was solid! So solid that I could not poke a shovel into it. Yesterday it had softened and was usable again and I expect that tomorrow will find it virtually a rock.
Three days ago we were well down in the -10 range. Yesterday it was back up in the 20s. The subzero air was very dry, yesterday the humidity was up again. I had deliberately left the doors open on my bin so the air could circulate.
The next time I get some damp salt I think I'll try an experiment. I'll bring a bucket of it indoors and see what happens when damp salt is exposed to warm, dry air. If it turns into a brick that should support my theory.
As a thought, maybe the Halite didn't bind up because it is usually fairly large, uniform particles. These would have less area where surfaces of adjacent particles touch and could be glued together, whereas bulk salt has enough finer particles to fill the voids and provide a better bonding surface.<<<
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