The salts and esters of formic acid are called formates. Examples of formates are sodium, calcium and aluminum formate.
Sodium formate is of great importance as a de-icing agent at airports. There, solid sodium formate mixed with anti-corrosion agents and other additives is used as a non-corrosive grit to de-ice runways, taxiways and aprons.
This mixture quickly penetrates solid layers of snow and ice, detaches them from the asphalt or concrete and quickly melts the ice (“de-icing effect”). The high freezing point effectively prevents re-icing (“anti-icing effect”), even at very low temperatures below −15 °C.
The thawing effect of the solid sodium formate can be increased by moistening it with aqueous potassium formate or potassium acetate solutions.
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