What is a Beetroot deicer?
When the weather becomes cold and precipitation falls over an area, the low temperature often leads to ice forming on the road. This shallow coating of ice on the road accounts for the majority of vehicle accidents happening in winter. To eliminate such problem, beetroot deicer can be sprayed on the ice to facilitate faster melting of the ice. The deicer can also be applied before precipitation falls as a preventative measure as well.
Why is it important?
Since frozen pavements have less friction and are more slippery than ordinary roads, drivers often lose control of their vehicles leading to huge accidents. To minimize traffic risks arising from such ice, road salts and beet juice can be applied onto the road. However, road salts result in the contamination of surrounding water sources by increasing the salinity and reduce the accessibility of drinking water to both humans and wildlife, whereas beet juice is harmless to the environment. The persistent salts left in the environment are subsequently absorbed by the groundwater and other water reservoirs nearby. The carbohydrate and sugar components that constitute beetroot are organic molecules that readily degrade when exerted in the environment. Using beetroot deicer instead of road salts will decrease the harm done on the environment.
The activity will give the students an understanding of the effect salinity has on the environment. During this activity, students will be divided into groups to experiment the effects salt has in the growth of plants. Through the experiment, the students will be able to understand the hazardous effects road salt has on the environment and learn the importance of using an alternative to road salts, such as beetroot deicer. There are no set answers for the conclusion questions.
Duration: 13 days – 3 days of preparation for plants to grow + 10 days of observation (once two days)
Materials: six 2L bottles, scissors, soil, fast plant seeds, salt, tea spoon, six beakers
Below are links to download:
Beetroot Deicer Info sheet:
Beetroot Deicer Activity sheet