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
'For the sake of persons of ... different types, scientific truth should be presented in different forms, and should be regarded as equally scientific, whether it appears in the robust form and the vivid coloring of a physical illustration, or in the tenuity and paleness of a symbolic expression.'