Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Automatic Food Irradiation Fridge

Safer food storage
  (+6, -3)
(+6, -3)
  [vote for,

A conventional refrigerator, with an aperture in the top. In the aperture is a sliding lead shutter. Fixed above the shutter is a plate of cobalt-60 or caesium-137 in a lead casing. A dual failsafe mechanical interlock links the shutter to the door.

When the door is open, the shutter is closed. When the door is closed, the shutter is open. All the food in the fridge gets irradiated, killing the bugs and slowing down the decay of the food.

Once a year, a nice man from the Acme Radiation Corporation comes in a little van and swaps your old source for a new one.

8th of 7, Oct 17 2002

Wilhelm Röntgen http://en.wikipedia...ilhelm_R%C3%B6ntgen
Winner of the first Nobel Prize in Physics [8th of 7, Aug 29 2011]

Cheap Water Irradiation Cheap_20water_20Irradiation
Another oldy along the same lines - though not as old as this fridge idea. [bungston, Aug 31 2011]


       How many of these can you fit in the warehouse before reaching critical mass?
hollajam, Oct 17 2002

       Fantastic. I'll have 2000. Do you ship to Southern Afghanistan...?
General Washington, Oct 17 2002

       Cobalt-60 and Caesium-137 aren't fissile <sigh>. So you can have as many as you like, I guess.   

       NB Important user tip. Don't climb inside the fridge to see if the light stays on when the door is closed. Not if you plan to have children, that is.   

       [GW] Yes, do you want it by surface mail ? For a small extra fee, you can have our special "B-52" airfreight service.........
8th of 7, Oct 17 2002

       Great, now instead of "dirty bombs" we'll have to worry about "refrigerator bombs" here in the U.S.
krelnik, Oct 17 2002

       But do I really want irradiated haggis? How much is the Acme Radiation Corporation going to charge for this swap out? Acme has never been known for their low prices. Just think how much Coyote had to shell out for those rocket launching roller skates.
lazloquezos, Oct 17 2002

       [lazlo] you *cannot* be a scot, you can spell.
po, Oct 17 2002

       Nope. I'm a geijing!
lazloquezos, Oct 17 2002

po, Oct 17 2002

       UV light?
BinaryCookies, Oct 17 2002

       // UV light ? //   

       They're doing a diet version now ? Great ! All the destructive free radicals, but only half the calories !
8th of 7, Oct 18 2002

       What about my bio-active yoghurt? And my pet penguin?
whimsickle, Oct 18 2002

       "How long has that stuff been in there?"
"A couple of years, maybe. Get that Geiger counter."
"What, this one?"
<rapid clicking noises>
"Sheesh - and I thought Chernobyl was bad."
PeterSilly, Oct 18 2002

       Genuine question: can you use an electromagnetic source (such as an x-ray tube) for food sterilisation? I imagine x-rays have sufficient penetration, will they do a sufficient job of sterilising food (given that the x-ray spectrum goes from 120 to 120,000 electron volts)? Maybe practicality gets in the road and it's too hard to make a high enough volume of x-rays?   

       I would suggest, in all seriousness, that a suitable x-ray source such as an x-ray tube, should it turn out that they can be used for food sterilisation, would be an excellent home appliance. No nasty isotopes that could be harvested for "dirty" bombs or whatever. Prolly expensive, though.   

       I would imagine something akin to a microwave, with a door, rotating deck and sufficient shielding would be ideal.. Perhaps, if it were necessary to run a "cycle", say an hour or more, this device should include refrigeration as well.
Custardguts, Feb 17 2009

       I thought of this idea and found 8th's prior art here. So bun! But cobalt is messy and dangerous. As Custardguts points out, one could do this with xrays which you can make with electricity as you see fit.   

       I here assert that the electricity needed to sterilize food with xrays is much less than the same electricity required to keep food at a constant low temperature to discourage microbial growth. Plus is areas with intermittent power, you could make a lot of xrays when the power was on (or use solar!) then just leave the door shut when the power was off.   

       Lastly in favor of xrays: DNA damage and thus biocidal effect is a factor of total dose. This as opposed to image production which requires the dose to occur in a given period of time. Thus the xray fridge could make very low amounts of xrays but over long periods.   

       This would be a fun science fair project. I am not sure, though, if civilians can buy used xray machines.
bungston, Aug 29 2011

       // if civilians can buy used xray machines //   

       Yes, they can. X-Ray tubes, magnetrons, klystrons and TWTs are available on the surplus and second-hand market, as is the drive circuitry.   

       However, most X-ray tubes are supplied on a "service exchange" basis. When a tube fails, it's swapped out by the supplier and a new one installed; the old tubes can be reconditioned. The usual failure mode is that the electron gun assembly burns out; but over time, the tungsten target also degrades - or they can lose vacuum if it's a sealed unit. Modern tubes now have a "getter" to trap any stray gas molecules that worm their way in, although exposing a tube to pure helium will kill it; the helium is mobile enough to diffuse through glass, and being noble, the getter can't trap it.   

       Actually, since X-ray tubes are 1900-ish technology, it's really quite easy to build your own. A bit of basic glassblowing skill, and a vacuum pump, will get you something that does the business. Maybe not a very stable beam, nor a long service life, but take a look at the kit that Wilhelm Röntgen started out with - impressive for its era, but not exactly rocket science.
8th of 7, Aug 29 2011


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