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

Answer

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

'A theory with mathematical beauty is more likely to be correct than an ugly one that fits some experimental data. God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.'