Calcium chloride flakes have numerous applications on both the consumer and the industrial levels. Many times casual home usage of calcium chloride flakes mirror the ways in which it is used in industry. It is also widely used in warmer months to control dust on unpaved roads, dirt athletic facilities and at building sites. Safe when used as directed and widely available, calcium chloride flake is on of the most widely used chemical compounds.
During the cold winter months municipalities in regions prone to ice stock up on calcium chloride flake to melt snow and ice on roadways. Anyone who lives in a region where ice builds up can buy it over the counter in most hardware stores. During the summer months the white powder does double duty when applied to dirt roads where dust is prone to fly. Sporting fields with lots of dirt usually keep supplies on hand as well. Using calcium chloride flake for de-icing and dust control has been common for years but other uses are gaining favor as local governments have had to tighten their budgets.
Controlling erosion via the application of calcium chloride flake has become increasingly popular in the last twenty years. Due to mounting usage of United States roadways by heavier vehicles in recent years many roads have deteriorated quickly. Cities and states have fewer dollars to spend on the upkeep of these roads, particularly in rural areas. Putting down calcium chloride flake has been found to be an effective way to slow the erosion of these roads and may be more cost efficient than previous methods.
There has been an unexpected environmental side benefit to using calcium chloride flake to forestall road erosion. High dust concentrations along with the dirt debris caused by road erosion add to the piling up of sediment deposits in creeks, rivers and streams. This sedimentary build up has a detrimental effect on many of the plants and fish which inhabit these waterways.
The application of calcium chloride flake battles sedimentary deposits in two ways. First, when the compound is used to lessen dust up on the roads, it means there is less dust in the environment to settle into the water. Second, calcium chloride flake can actually be blended in with other compounds to stabilize the road work, thereby slowing down the wash off which ends up in streams as sediment. Studies are underway to use calcium chloride flake as a primary source of sediment control as well as having the environment benefit in a secondary manner.
Quite often beneficial uses of chemicals will be found as side effects of its primary uses; such is the case with calcium chloride flake. After many years of being used to keep roads clear of ice and dust, it flake has now been found to have benefits for the environment as well. As calcium chloride flake continues to be used by consumers and industry it may well turn out that other benefits will accrue to the environment.