Grade 6 Science Fair Project – "Road Salt – Is it the Fastest Way to Melt Icy Roads?"

The purpose of this science fair project is to explore the effect of road salt placed on snowy and icy roads. The freezing point for water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature water freezes into ice. Road salt is placed on snowy and icy roads because the salt causes the ice and snow to melt. The chemistry behind this reaction is that salt lowers the melting point or freezing point of water. The salt acts as foreign particles in the water to help the melting process.

In this science fair project you will simulate sidewalks and roads in icy conditions. You will fill dishes with ice to represent the sidewalks and roads. You will place various materials across the ice cubes to see if and how the ice cubes melt. The various materials include: road salt, fertilizer, calcium chloride, cat litter, and sand.


Road salt and the various other materials will cause the ice to melt

faster than using nothing at all.


Type of material spread on ice

Materials Needed:

  • Six dishes that have dimensions of 9 x 13 inches
  • Freezer available to use during the science fair project
  • Stopwatch
  • Water
  • 12 ounces of road salt
  • 12 ounces of fertilizer
  • 12 ounces of calcium chloride
  • 12 ounces of cat litter
  • 12 ounces of sand
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Camera


Complete the following steps for this science fair project:

Setup Step #1:

Pour water into each of the six dishes. Make sure that the water level in each dish is 1 inch.

Setup Step #2:

Place the six dishes in the freezer. Leave the dishes in the freezer until the water has frozen to ice. You may have to leave the dishes in the freezer overnight.

Setup Step #3:

Place each of the six dishes on the floor of your kitchen.

You are now ready to begin the science experiment.


Step #1:

You are going to spread material onto each dish in the following


Dish #1: Do not spread any material across this dish. Leave this

dish as plain ice only.

Dish #2: Spread the 12 ounces of road salt evenly across this dish.

Dish #3: Spread the 12 ounces of fertilizer evenly across this dish.

Dish #4: Spread the 12 ounces of calcium chloride evenly across

this dish.

Dish #5: Spread the 12 ounces of cat litter evenly across this dish.

Dish #6: Spread the 12 ounces of sand evenly across this dish.

Step #2:

Use your stopwatch to determine how long it takes for each

material to melt the ice. Record your observations. Did the road salt melt the ice the quickest? Rank the materials in order from the dish that melted the fastest to the slowest. Do you think that road salt is most effective material to use on icy roads? Why or why not?

Step #3:

You may want to take pictures during the melting process.

Pictures will help you document your observations as well as validate your results and conclusions.

Summary of Results:

The materials that were spread across each dish cause the freezing point to lower. This in effect caused the ice to melt. Road salt is

used on icy roads because it is the most effective and also the safest for the environment.