Electrically conductive concrete will keep the runway from icing up

A team of Iowa State University researchers led by Professor Khalil Ceylan has developed a new type of electrically conductive concrete that resists ice and snow. The unique material is currently being tested at Des Moines International Airport.

The site has two parallel concrete slabs measuring 4, 6 x 4, 1 m and 19 cm thick. Each slab has a two-layer structure. The 10cm base is made of regular concrete and the top layer is 1% carbon fiber combined with a special mix of cement, sand and gravel. 6 electrodes are installed between the layers (per plate), connected to the network in the adjacent hangar.

Conductive concrete on a thermal imager

Controlled through a special application, the electrodes direct current to the upper electrically conductive layer, which, thanks to the resistance, begins to heat up to a temperature sufficient to melt snow and ice. In the near future, the new coating may become the basis for airport runways.