Jul 6, 2021 10:31:29 PM / Brooke Loeffler /

What Are Complex Chlorides And Why Do They Matter?

The common misconception that “salt is salt” has trickled through the deicing industry for years. In reality, there are many chemical and physical properties that distinguish different salts from each other. Here we will learn specifically about complex chlorides and why they are so special.

What Are Complex Chlorides And Why Do They Matter?

Meet the Chloride Salts

First, let’s learn about the most common family of deicing ingredients, chloride salts. Chloride salts work by interfering with water molecules’ ability to freeze. They are known as freeze point depressants and each one can lower water’s freezing point to a certain temperature.

Chloride salts are freeze point depressants

The 4 types of chloride salts used for deicing are:

Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride is typically white evaporative or mined rock salt and is the most commonly used.

  • Sodium chloride lowers water’s freezing point to about 21° F / -6° C

Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride is probably the least common chloride used in deicing.

  • Potassium chloride lowers water’s freezing point to about 12° F / -11° C

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is less common than sodium chloride and is typically sold as a liquid or added to solid deicers. It has also been found to reduce corrosion.

  • Magnesium chloride lowers water’s freezing point to about -5° F / -15° C

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride works at the lowest temperatures and is typically used as a liquid additive for some solid deicers.

  • Calcium chloride lowers water’s freezing point to about -25° F / -32° C

What Is A Complex Chloride?

A complex chloride is a naturally derived, homogenous blend of the 4 main chloride salts. Solid complex chlorides are mined from ancient sea deposits and also contain other naturally occurring minerals.

Some deicing companies add chlorides together to try and boost performance or reduce corrosion (like coating sodium chloride granules with liquid magnesium or calcium chloride to work at lower temperatures). These mixtures are NOT complex chlorides. They are not homogenous mixtures, do not contain the same chemical and physical properties, or match the performance of natural complex chlorides with minerals.

Chemical Synergism

Complex chlorides display a natural phenomenon called chemical synergism. Here, the combined effect of chemical substances is much greater than the sum of its parts. The substances enhance each other’s efficiency and make their combined efforts even more powerful. Synergism is most commonly seen in the medical community when medicines are combined for an even greater effect on the body (ie. the combination of aspirin and caffeine for synergistic pain relief).

Chemical synergism of complex chlorides

Chemical synergism in a deicer amplifies the performance of each chloride. The combination of 4 different chlorides creates a dynamic solution as each chloride continues to work together for faster performance and re-freeze cycle prevention on road surfaces.

In contrast, deicers with artificially added chlorides, display the chemical “additive effect.” Their ingredients simply perform their individual chemical reactions without affecting each other’s performance.

Ice Slicer: Complex Chlorides and Minerals in Action

Harvested from a Jurassic Era mineral deposit in central Utah, Ice Slicer is the poster child for complex chloride power. The earth spent over 200 million years perfecting this unique blend of chloride salts and over 60 trace minerals; it truly is mother nature’s perfect recipe for melting ice and snow.

But don’t just take our word for it...let’s hear from snow boots on the ground as to what makes the complex chlorides and minerals in Ice Slicer so special. 

Complex Chloride Survey

The Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University conducted a thorough study of “the unique synergy of complex chlorides and mineral products.” They surveyed 31 road agencies and winter maintenance experts across 16 states and asked them what they saw when using complex chloride mineral deicers, including Ice Slicer.

Complex Chlorides user survey - western transportation institute

Here are the complex chloride benefits reported: 

  • Improved performance:

“The top five primary benefits for using solid complex chloride/mineral products listed by respondents include: 1. “Lowering the freezing point of water” (20.7%), 2. “Prevention of ice formation” (17.2%), 3. “Improving the product longevity on the road” (13.8%), 4. “Preventing refreeze” (13.8%), 5. “Weakening of ice bond to pavement” (13.8%).”

  • Reduced highway infrastructure damage
  • Reduced environmental damage
  • Cost savings
  • Reduction in the volume of the material (using less product)

Ice Slicer Testimonials

Ice Slicer users have found that complex chlorides and minerals outperform white salt every time. Give us a call before this coming winter to see  Ice Slicer’s unique synergy in action!

  • “Ice Slicer activates sooner than white salt at any temperature.”
    -R. Peterson, Street Super, Nebraska

  • “We took one truck loaded with white salt and one loaded with Ice Slicer up the freeway...spreading both at the same rate. We turned around at the top - coming back down the Ice Slicer lane was wet - the lane with white salt hadn’t even started melting yet!”
    -City of Heber, Utah

  • “Roads were usually dry 6-12 hours ahead of other areas when using Ice Slicer!"
    -Colorado DOT (Department of Transportation)

  • “At all temperatures, Ice Slicer was superior to standard road salt at melting snow & ice.”
    -Utah Winter Operations Director

  • “I have been in the snow and ice control business for over 25 years and am always looking for better and more cost effective ways to deal with our many black ice and freezing rain events. Ice Slicer has outperformed all other brands we have used.”
    -Magnum Enterprises, Ketchikan Alaska

  • “We have found many advantages with Ice Slicer. Most apparent is how much quicker it melts ice compared to white salt. We now have citizens calling to specifically request Ice Slicer in their neighborhoods."
    – Colorado Springs, CO