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Ice


— Good Thinking

Advanced Rail Cleaner blasts snow and ice off railway tracks

Imagine if you were trying to pull a heavy sled up an icy hill, while wearing slick-soled boots. Well, that's kind of what it's like for locomotives working on snowy mountain railways. If there's too much ice or snow on the rails, their steel wheels will just spin out when traveling up inclines. Because of this problem, trains going along such routes are generally kept short and light – which isn't cost-effective. Now, however, GE Transportation has developed a supersonic air blower to keep those tracks dry. Read More
— Science

New boot sole rubber uses glass to grip on ice

At this time of year, people living in northern regions all over the world are faced with the same problem: icy sidewalks. Boots with otherwise grippy soles still slip, and spikes don't do well on stretches where there is no ice. Researchers from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Toronto are developing what could be a better alternative, however – rubber soles with bits of glass embedded in them. Read More
— Aircraft

Carbon nanotube-based anti-icing coating proves itself in wind tunnel testing

There are numerous types of systems designed to prevent ice forming on aircraft surfaces during flight. Some reroute hot air produced by jet engines, others generate their own heat, others knock ice off through mechanical force, while others still release antifreeze chemicals onto the wing. Battelle has recently tested its carbon nanotube-base HeatCoat technology that it claims is lighter and less power hungry than such systems. It also has no moving parts and could easily be retrofitted to existing aircraft. Read More
— Drones

Autonomous underwater vehicle looks for algae on underside of ice

Early every spring in Antarctica, mats of algae form on the underside of the sea ice. These mats – along with bacteria that live in them – serve as a food source for zooplankton, essentially kickstarting the food chain for the year. Given that the ice algae plays such an important ecological role, scientists from Denmark's Aarhus University have set out to better understand its distribution. In order to do so, they're using a high-tech underwater drone. Read More
— Outdoors

Ice-fishing go-kart borrows the motor of its user's ice auger

Dedicated winter anglers will travel long distances across frozen lakes, in order to reach prime ice-fishing spots. While many of these fishermen use a snowmobile to do so, such vehicles can cost US$10,000 or more to buy new. Wisconsin-based sportsman Adam Ford, however, has come up with an alternative. He's created an ice-going go-kart that utilizes the motor of an ice auger, which the user would be carrying with them anyway. Read More
— Science

De-icing system targets wind farm efficiency in cold climates

Given that the sterotypical image of the world's northern regions involves howling winds, why don't we see more wind turbines in such places? Well, it's largely because those turbines' blades would ice up a lot. The added weight could cause them to turn more slowly, to break down by throwing off their balance, and it could cause their operators to shut them down during potentially icy weather. The European Union Windheat Project is aiming to change that, with a carbon nanotube-based de-icing system. Read More
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