Ice formation mechanism
Ice and icicle formation on a warm roof (DE-VI):
1 – snow;
2 – water;
3 – ice;
4 – heat flow
Precipitation in the form of snow, being on the roof, does not pose any danger. However, if conditions are created for the snow to melt under the influence of any heat source, it turns into water. If the formed melt water has no way to quickly leave the roof, when the corresponding negative temperature comes, it freezes, turning into ice. Since the conditions for melting (and the melting rate) of ice and snow are different, with the next short-term action of the heat source, it is not possible to melt, but, on the contrary, to an increase in the ice plug. Such a mechanism for the formation of ice can lead to the formation of icicles tens of meters long and weighing hundreds of kilograms..
Heat sources are:
Today, the most common way to combat ice formation is the use of anti-icing systems based on heating cables..
Anti-icing systems based on heating cables
Application of a heating cable de-icing system
The introduction of anti-icing systems based on heating cables, subject to proper design, taking into account the peculiarities of the roof design, allows you to completely eliminate the formation of ice at relatively low prices and insignificant energy consumption and also ensure the operability of the organized drainage system in the spring and autumn periods.
Installation of heating cables
The operation of anti-icing systems at temperatures below -18 ° …- 20 ° C is usually unnecessary. Firstly, at such temperatures the formation of ice does not take place by the first mechanism and the amount of moisture by the second one sharply decreases. Secondly, under these conditions, the amount of precipitation in the form of snow also decreases..
Thirdly, large electrical power is needed to melt snow and remove moisture along a sufficiently long path..
When installing the system, it must be borne in mind that the designer must ensure that the water that appears as a result of the ‘operation’ of the system has a free path of complete drainage from the roof.
An example of heating a valley.
1 – Clamp
2- Heating section
3 – Bracket
4 – Copper strip
There are also limits for the capacity of the heating part of the systems, established on the basis of practice, non-observance of which leads to ineffective operation of the equipment in the specified temperature range, and a significant excess of the latter leads only to excessive consumption of electrical power without any improvement in the operation of the system..
All of the above allows us to draw several general conclusions:
Typical, constructive solutions
The main tasks in the design of anti-icing roofing systems are to make it effective, relatively inexpensive, and to apply such methods of fastening that would not damage very critical roof components and would not spoil the appearance of the building. In this case, the attachment points must be reliable, durable, and not damaging the sheath of the heating cables.
One of the basic principles of designing fasteners is to use the same materials as for the roof, or compatible with them..
Heated snow pocket
In fig. 4,5,6 shows examples of laying heating and distribution cables on various (most common) pitched roof nodes. First of all, they relate to roofs covered with galvanized iron, copper sheets and metal tiles..
It should be noted that special methods are used for non-damaging heating cables for soft roofs. On the widespread trays of snow retention and snow removal, it is highly advisable to lay heating cables in a concrete (or cement-sand screed). This, in addition to protecting the cable from damage, significantly increases the heating efficiency due to the use of heat storage properties of concrete.
Gutter heating with heated funnel
Basic requirements are imposed in terms of fire and electrical safety.
To satisfy them, several conditions must be met:
Heating cables from major manufacturers have all the necessary certificates and have been repeatedly tested as part of anti-icing systems.
Testing and performance evaluation
Anti-icing systems testing can be divided into two groups: acceptance tests and periodic tests..
Routine tests usually begin with testing the insulation resistance of heating and distribution cables. RCDs (or difavtomats) are being tested. Appropriate protocols are drawn up with specific values. The most informative are performance tests, during which the efficiency of the system is checked..
It should be noted that anti-icing systems are not instantaneous systems. They are designed to work in standby mode and turn on immediately when precipitation occurs. If the system was turned on not at the beginning of the season, and a layer of snow has accumulated on the roof, it will take from 6 hours to a day to remove it.
There are difficulties when the system is commissioned in the warm season. At the same time, the proper functioning of the control equipment is checked, signals from the sensors are simulated, the transition of the system to the mode of turning on the load, turning off the trays, and then turning off the drains is checked.
Periodic tests are carried out, as a rule, at the beginning of autumn to check the technical condition of the system and prepare it for operation. First of all, the insulation resistance is checked to identify damaged areas. Then the state of the equipment is checked, its test switching is carried out. After checking the settings of the thermostats, the system is switched on, and it remains in standby mode..
Hydrophobic anti-icing compositions
Hydrophobic anti-icing compositions do not prevent the formation of ice, but provide a quick release of newly formed water ice during repeated freeze-thaw cycles, preventing it from forming into large icicles and drips.
Such hydrophobic compositions are applied to metal, concrete and other substrates by hand, brush, roller or spray on clean, dry and dust-free surfaces free from rust, oil, grease, etc. Compositions harden at temperatures above +5 0С.
According to the International Academy of Cold (MAX), the adhesion force of water ice with building roofing materials is very high (steel 3 – more than 0.16 MPa, concrete – more than 0.22 MPa), during pull-off tests the internal structure of ice was destroyed, and its remnants were firmly remained on the surface of materials. At the same time, the adhesion strength of ice coated with an anti-icing composition is almost completely absent and is less than 0.22 MPa.
Anti-icing coatings are waterproof, anti-corrosion, environmentally friendly, have high strength and elasticity, retain high physical and mechanical properties in a wide temperature range, and are resistant to UV radiation and precipitation.