The use of ice melters does not solve the problem of the need for people to immediately cross icy or snowy surfaces. So, in 2012, Gaia Enterprise, Inc. undertook the task of developing a product that could be safely spread on any surface and would provide instant ice traction while being guaranteed safe to handle. After experimenting with thousands of ingredients, Gaia applied for the patent on its traction agent, Traction Magic®. This product addresses the worry about slip and fall accidents that face many facility managers.
The old philosophy of dealing with winter’s ice was to get rid of it by using ice melters, chipping it away or spreading repurposed products such as sand and kitty litter. There have always been problems in using these methods. Ice melters requires a long period of time to melt and the treated area becomes more slippery until all the ice is gone. Even if you have the time, the use of chemical ice melters can compromise underlying surfaces like concrete, pavers, bricks and asphalt. These problems involve scaling, cracking, discoloration and compromising the environment.
So, why do we slip on ice anyway? The science of why ice is slippery opened up the pathway for the development of a product to eliminate the slippery problems. The best way to deal with the ice is not to eliminate it but to work with it. Ice is slippery because it always has a thin layer of free water at the surface of the ice no matter the temperature. As an object moves across the ice, the slipping on this free water starts the slipping process. This slipping accelerates due to what is called “pressure melting”. This melting occurs beneath the moving object contact point with the ice due to the object’s weight. The same reason the blade of ice skates glide across the ice.
Hence the development of Traction Magic by Gaia. Traction Magic doesn’t get rid of the ice but conquers it. Working with the new theory of “why ice is slippery” allowed Gaia to see the pathway for creating a “non slip” icy surface. Traction Magic is composed of many geocrystals gathered from mines throughout the U.S. and processed to produce the product. The different crystals are selected to maximize their absorption of the free water and the other crystals that are chosen to bury themselves into the ice and thereby creating what the company calls the “sandpaper effect” representing a non-slip surface. This is achieved while Traction Magic remains 100% safe to handle, chemical free, and safe on all surfaces including new concrete.