Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is a de-icer and can be used as an alternative to road salt.
  • This de-icer can be effective in stopping road ice from forming down to around -27.5 °C (-17.5 °F).
  • CMA can be produced from a reaction of a magnesium/calcium compound with glacial acetic acid.

Road Salt

Road salt de-icing started in the United States during the 1940s and is still commonly used today. The consequences of using road salt on the environment were discovered in the 1970s, and in 1976 the Environmental Protection Agency completed its first assessments on road salt. The results lead the Federal Highway Administration to seek an alternative to road salt.

Road Salt Alternative

Sodium chloride road salt costs less than $50 per ton to produce but is corrosive to metals in highway structures and increases the concentration of sodium in drinking water which can lead to adverse health effects. Alternative de-icing substances have been sought to alleviate these problems. CMA has been found to be an effective de-icer and environmentally benign, though its production cost of $650 per ton is much greater than the cost of road salt. On average, $615 per ton would be saved in vehicle corrosion and that $75 per ton would be saved in aesthetic damage to roadside trees when switching to Calcium Magnesium Acetate as a de-icer instead of sodium chloride rock salt: these costs also far outweigh CMA’s initial production cost.

Characteristics of CMA

Calcium Magnesium Acetate is an environmentally friendly alternative. Calcium Magnesium Acetate is biodegradable and does not contaminate the environment. CMA sometimes leaves a residue after being applied; however, this residue increases the products effectiveness and does not track easily inside. Calcium Magnesium Acetate is a non-corrosive formula that does little damage to the infrastructure and environment around it. With few problems, CMA was chosen as the most promising, sustainable solution.


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