Is thermal ‘Melt Mat’ the answer to problems caused by snow

Snow is one of the most reflective substances that mother nature gifts us with which means that when it falls it is extremely hard to clear- even when the temperature is above freezing. We see it all over Twitter and news channels The Met Office published Amber warnings and, this March, even Red warnings for those affected by the hazardous conditions left by the weather.

Work places close, meetings get postponed and our way of 21st century living becomes extremely difficult to carry on with heaps of the white stuff left on the roads and pavements. However, now it seems there is an answer to our snow – related problems.


A group of engineering students from Virginia Tech have found a solution called ‘The melt mat’. In simple terms the melt mat accelerates the process of melting the snow when placed on top of snow banks. It’s made up of a thin sheet of aluminium sprayed with a flat black spray paint. Black and aluminium being conductors and absorbing of the sun.

Jonathan Boreyko, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics and the team’s faculty advisor said,“Generally, snow reflects about three-quarters of the sun’s radiation back into the air, so it’s actually really hard for the sun to melt a snowbank,”.

(Credit Virginia Tech)

The prototype ‘melt mat’ has been tested in a controlled experimental condition and melting times have been accelerated by 300%! Let’s hope that when the product is developed and available it will be just as effective on users drives and walk ways.

By investing in research and development the team were able to solve a problem that many of us face on a day to day basis. If you have a problem in mind that you think you can solve, make sure you get in touch to claim back on your research and development efforts. The incentives are all there and support can be claimed.

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