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Kevin Landrigan at the Union-Leader spotted an interesting tidbit from AAA and turned it into an interesting story: Using brine to clean snow and ice from roads, as compared to road salt, might be better for the environment but it’s worse for cars.

Why? Chemistry.

Brine is a mix of rock salt (sodium chloride) and magnesium chloride, dissolved in water so they can be sprayed on the road.

“That’s a very important point, because magnesium chloride is much more corrosive than sodium chloride, the rock salt,” said Bob Baboian, an auto industry consultant and a fellow at the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. Rock salt remains a crystal until the humidity reaches 70 percent, which doesn’t happen much during the winter, but magnesium chloride dissolves when there is only about 20 to 30 percent humidity. “Which means that your vehicle, if magnesium chloride is sprayed on it, is wet constantly,” Baboian said. The acid stays on your car and slowly eats away at the paint and metal, he said.

The whole story is here.

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