Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-15-2017


Concrete, black ice, safety, ice detection, bridge decks, pavements, electrical resistance, resistivity


Hundreds of people are killed or injured annually in the United States in accidents related to ice formation on roadways and bridge decks. In this paper, a novel embedded sensor system is proposed for the detection of black ice as well as wet, dry and frozen pavement conditions on roads, runways, and bridges. The proposed sensor works by detecting changes in electrical resistance between two sets of stainless steel poles embedded in the concrete sensor to assess surface and near-surface conditions. A preliminary decision algorithm is developed that utilizes sensor outputs indicating resistance changes and surface temperature. The sensor consists of a 102-mm diameter, 38 mm high, concrete cylinder. Laboratory results indicate that the proposed sensor can effectively detect surface ice and wet conditions even in the presence of deicing chlorides and rubber residue. This sensor can further distinguish black ice from ice that may exist within concrete pores.