Can a dummy load be switched on to overload the outside power lines, raise their temperature and melt the accumulated ice away?
Asked by: Patrick MacKinnon
I suspect that the energies involved are just too large to be practical. Consider
this 'table napkin' estimation:
The heat of fusion of ice is 333.6 j/gm. Consider an ice jacket 1 cm in radius
around a wire of negligible radius. This ice jacket weighs 314 gm/meter of length,
and would require ~100 watt/meter to melt. That's about a 100 watt light bulb for
every meter of power line.
This ignores any redeposition of fresh ice. All heat losses due to convection and a
lot of other things.
In short, Mother Nature can supply more ice to a power line than Man can melt from
the same power line. And the race isn't even close.
Answered by: Vince Calder, Ph.D., Physical Chemist, retired