Keeping sidewalks, roadways, parking lots and other surfaces free of ice and snow is a laborious and expensive process. When the choice is salt and chemicals, it also comes with environmental impacts. Enter Tundra Tape, a cost-effective, eco-friendly alternative developed by Joey Yang, a professor of engineering and associate dean at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Made of carbon fiber material, Tundra Tape is embedded under pavement to heat the surface so that ice doesn’t have a chance to form. Carbon fibers and carbon nanofibers are especially strong and can conduct electricity when connected to a power grid, properties that offer enormous potential for deicing applications.
The tape heats up rapidly when bus bars are connected and a current is applied. Using a remotely accessible controller, the temperature is limited to 86°F and the surface temperature kept below 50°F. The controller manages the heat based on the surface temperature, snow/ice detection or remote command.
Tundra Tape consists of woven, 3-foot-wide carbon fiber tape assembled into arrays. Single array sizes and shapes can vary, up to ten feet by ten feet, and can be customized to fit any shape. To ensure system safety, the heating arrays are coated with a thin layer of thermally conductive, electrically isolative coating.
The tape is easy to install and is estimated to be 40 percent of the cost of a hydronic (water-based) system. Renewable energy sources including wind or solar also can be used. For more information, visit www.arcticheattech.com.