Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Instantly Freezes Food Without Damage from Ice Crystal Formation
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The Insta-Freezer would instantly freeze food to preserve it without damaging its texture. The food would be frozen so quickly that large ice crystals would not have time to form. Milk could be frozen instantly to make the highest quality ice cream.

The Insta-freezer would use a rapidly oscillating electric field to keep water molecules constantly spinning inside the food, even as its temperature was lowered significantly below zero. Then the field would suddenly be cut off, causing freezing to occur nearly instantly without giving the ice crystals a chance to grow to large size.

Food could be instantly frozen and preserved, without worrying about any adverse impact on taste or texture. Even a bottle of water would freeze into clear ice, without breaking from ice expansion.

This technique has been employed for expensive industrial or restaurant-sized systems, but a consumer-level product with this technology would be very useful in any household.

sanman, Mar 31 2013

CAS http://en.wikipedia.../Cells_Alive_System
Cells Alive System invented in Japan [sanman, Mar 31 2013]

How It Works http://web-japan.or...technology/002.html
Explanation of the technology [sanman, Mar 31 2013]

Clear Ice http://www.ihs.com/...vention-freezer.htm
Even a bottle of water would freeze into clear ice, without breaking [sanman, Mar 31 2013]

Water Freezes Instantly https://www.youtube...watch?v=fehdWAefXWw
Watch Water Freeze Instantly Under This Technology [sanman, Mar 31 2013]

An old Suspended Animation idea Suspended_20Animation
As implied by an annotation [Vernon, Mar 31 2013]


       It might be another way to accomplish suspended animation
Vernon, Mar 31 2013

       bottom of the second link it notes that they're working on organ transplants but are having problems with defrosting... why not use the same method to defrost ? crank up the whatsitron and get those water molecules spinning again.   

       I don't see mentioned in the "idea" that you actually need two freezers: one to do the quick-freeze, then another more conventional one for storage.
FlyingToaster, Mar 31 2013

       I'm not convinced by that "CAS" system, nor by the idea that rapidly oscillating fields can help supercool liquids. If the field is causing the water (and other) molecules to move, then that is surely keeping the food warm?   

       The trick in the fourth link (supercooling water so that it freezes instantly when disturbed or seeded) is an old one that can be done in any conventional freezer, provided the water is pure and the container has no rough-spots to nucleate freezing.   

       Moreovermore, if the linked "CAS" technology does work (which I doubt), then this idea is baked, shirley?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 31 2013

       // If the field is causing the water (and other) molecules to move, then that is surely keeping the food warm?//   

       Yes, that's what's keeping the food from freezing while the temperature of the surrounding freezer drops. But then the field is cut off, causing the food to quickly drop in temperature immediately instead of dropping gradually. The water is the key concern, because it's what forms ice crystals, while the rest of the molecules aren't of concern. By keeping the water molecules rotating, other molecules can slow down sooner. Yes, obviously some momentum/energy is going to be transferred from those rotating water molecules to other nearby molecules, but the refrigeration is also drawing that energy off. So as the refrigeration increases, everything is freezing except the water, and translational mobility of molecules is limited. Then when the electric field is cut, the water molecules quickly follow suit and freeze, without having the translational mobility available to link up into larger crystals. Small tiny crystals means better freezing,without loss of texture and taste.   

       //you actually need two freezers: one to do the quick-freeze, then another more conventional one for storage.//   

       This device could be used in addition to your regular freezer. You use this to do the quick-freeze, and then transfer the frozen item to your freezer. Perhaps it could be implemented as a drawer/compartment inside your freezer. Some newer refrigerators have such a rapid freezing or flash freezing compartment, which does this using an ammonia coil. But the electric field method I mentioned would probably provide even better results.
sanman, Mar 31 2013

       //that's what's keeping the food from freezing while the temperature of the surrounding freezer drops. But then the field is cut off, causing the food to quickly drop in temperature immediately instead of dropping gradually.//   

       You do realize that that makes immeasurably little sense? Large items freeze slowly not because the freezer they are placed in takes time to cool down, but chiefly because they can only lose heat from their surface. Thus, the central parts take a long time to cool down and freeze, during which time ice crystals grow slowly and large.   

       Moreover, it is unlikely that the electromagnetic waves will excite only the water molecules. Moreovermore, even if they did, the time taken to transfer thermal energy from a spinning, vibrating or hip-hopping water molecule to its neighbours will be measure in nanoseconds.   

       If you want proof that it's not for real, can I suggest you check the fourth link? Then explain to me:   

       (a) // By keeping the water molecules rotating, other molecules can slow down sooner.// what other molecules are slowing down in a bottle of water?   

       (b) Why, if they want to promote their new freezer, do they do a trick that can be done in any freezer using clean (particle-free) water in a clean bottle? If you just Google "supercooled water youtube" you'll find that this is a well-known and old trick.   

       If you really want to freeze food (or organs), without using a cryoprotectant, the best way is to cool it to just above the point where ice formation would begin, and let it equilibrate throughout so that it is uniformly just above the ice point. Then cool it the rest of the way as fast as possible by direct contact with a body at very low temperature to ensure that the transition from unfrozen to frozen is as fast as possible.   

       Liquid nitrogen works fairly well (not great, because vaporization limits the rate of heat transfer - but it's not bad). Biological structures are normally preserved by flash-freezing them in contact with a metal surface which has previously been chilled to LN temperatures.   

       Such methods work well for cells and for very small tissue samples. Larger things get mushed to an extent, because the transition through the ice point is never fast enough in the centre of the tissue.   

       I call tombollockry on the whole "Cells Alive System". So an idea based on "wasn't that cool that thing I saw, wouldn't it be great if it were available for home use?" isn't doing it for me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 31 2013

       Cells, [Max], cells. I'll bet it works great on unicellular organs.
lurch, Mar 31 2013

       //Cells, [Max], cells. I'll bet it works great on unicellular organs.//   

       Any rapid-cooling system will work fine for cells, [Max], cells and, indeed, for small beasties. The problem remains how to freeze larger organisms or parts thereof.   

       But the business of keeping the water molecules hot while all the molecules around them go cold is bollocks.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 31 2013

       Max, all the other molecules are going cold because of the refrigeration. The only thing keeping the water molecules from going cold along with them is because they keep getting energy from the electric field, just like water being energized by microwaves. That constant energy drain due to refrigeration means that as soon as the electric field gets cut off, everything will freeze quickly.
sanman, Apr 01 2013

       //Max, all the other molecules are going cold because of the refrigeration.//   

       [Sanman], with all due respect, that's bollocks for the several reasons I mentioned above. And, in the supercooled water, which "all the other molecules" are going cold?   

       And, to reiterate, heat transfer between individual molecules takes place on the order of nanoseconds - you can't selectively cool some molecules in a solution whilst keeping the others warm.   

       Also, given that water molecules are typically >90% by mass of living tissue, and given the latent heats of fusion, this is bollocks at a fundamental level.   

       I'm sorry, but this is just utter bollocks and displays a profound lack of physical insight.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2013

       [MB], I apologize for my cheshire-smiley not rendering correctly. The intent of 'unicellular organs' (most organs being massively polycellular) was to imply single-celled CNS equipped organisms, such as would be readily susceptible to chillbrains.
lurch, Apr 01 2013

       From all the links, it's a normal freezer except there's a thingummy added that spins water molecules, making them dizzy.   

       So, as the temperature drops the normal way through conduction, the water stays water because the molecules can't pack together like they normally would.   

       Stop spinning and presto freezo.
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2013

       Yes, [FT], we know all that, but I say it's presto bollocko, and I gave very sound reasons for this conclusion twice in the preceding annos. If you want proof that it's bollocks, watch the video in the fourth link. Supercooling water is an old trick that works with any freezer, and this technology is a scam.   

       Seriously, people, stop and think sometimes.   

       //pressure// Yes, that would be plausible. If you keep water under pressure, its freezing point is lowered so it will remain liquid (stably - not metastably as in the usual supercooled water business) below 0°C (or below whatever its freezing point would be, with all the solutes). Then when you release the pressure, it should freeze.   

       But however, I'm not sure if this would work in practice. If the pressure allows you to supercool the water by a few degrees, then you don't have much to offset the latent heat of fusion released when the water turns to ice.   

       The maths for this is doable, since the energy you take out of the system (by dropping the pressure) will be related to the initial pressure and to the volume increase when the thing freezes. My guess is that, for any given volume of water, this energy removal is well below the latent heat of fusion, meaning that you will still have to remove a lot of energy.   

       So, I'm not sure if you could chill a piece of steak well below its natural freezing point and then let it freeze instantaneously.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2013

       Max, stop fixating on the freezing water bottle - I just put that in for dramatic effect. Nobody cares about instant-freezing water, because it has no texture or taste to be ruined by normal freezing. What's important is to be able to freeze fruit, or vegetables, or meat without the usual ice crystals wrecking the tissue.   

       It's not bollocks - the electrical field and the refrigeration are at equilibrium, but below the freezing temperature. It's certainly possible for 2 counter-posing effects to be at equilibrium at some arbitrary state condition, which in this case is below the freezing point of water. Cut the field and the equilibrium collapses with instant freezing, before large ice crystals can form to wreck the tissue.
sanman, Apr 01 2013

       Fine, they've invented a special physics. All the water molecules have been fitted with little end-bearings so they can spin away without transferring any heat to their neighbours. And even though the food may be 90-95% water, those remaining 5-10% of molecules get sooooooo cold that they can absorb the relatively huge latent heat of fusion of the miraculously-spinning water molecules and everything freezes.   

       Either that or, gee, maybe it's a freezer with a microwave in it. Which, if you read their blurb, is what they're saying.   

       Whatever. I'll just wait here for it to revolutionize my life. I'm glad you found something so wonderful, and I urge you to invest.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2013

       Max, obviously water molecules are transferring energy to other molecules - but those other molecules are being drained by REFRIGERATION! Think of source and drain. The net equilibrium is below freezing point, so if the temperature says -8C, then it means that on the whole everything is below the freezing point of water. You're telling me that the only way water molecules can be spinning, is that if the overall net temperature of the object is above zero?? Nonsense, water molecules can be spinning, and the overall net temperature can still be below zero.
sanman, Apr 02 2013

       [sanman], do you have any idea how small molecules are? Do you have any conception of the rate at which energy is transferred between them?   

       Do you have any idea of the latent heat of fusion of water? Do you have any idea of how much energy has to be magicked away when 90% of your broccoli changes from liquid water to solid water?   

       Try taking a piece of stuff at liquid nitrogen temperatures or even (and it is admittedly unlikely that this opportunity would present itself) at liquid helium temperatures.   

       Drop the piece of stuff into a tenfold larger mass of water held just a shade above 0°C.   

       You will be amazed at how incompletely the water will freeze, because the latent heat of fusion of water is far greater than the amount of energy which can be extracted by warming the very-cold- thing up to 0°C.*   

       Now, let's hear no more of this tombollockry - go settle it with the foregoing experiment and report back. If you find the result to the contrary, I will personally eat [8th]'s hat.   

       <elementary mathematics>   

       *If you can handle a few numbers: latent heat of fusion of water is about 330kJ/kg. The specific heat of the non-water component of broccoli has, for some reason, never been determined but it will be roughly 1kJ/kg/°C (similar to sugars, proteins, and the like).   

       Thus, if everything *but* the water is at absolute zero, a kg of non-water-broccoli can absorb about 273kJ of thermal energy in rising to 0°C.   

       Thus, even if everything works perfectly, such that all the non-water molecules making up <10% of your broccoli are cooled to -273°C whilst all the water molecules remain liquid, then at most 8% of the water in the broccoli will "instantly freeze" when you turn of the Magic Rays.   

       <\elementary maths>
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 02 2013

       As near as I can tell (the second link is not a reliable source, the wikipedia article is a stub at best, and information from the company is rather engrish in translation), this post mischaracterizes the Cells Alive system. It's not going for instantaneous freezing, or at least no faster than current cryonic techniques.   

       Again, going on poor information, it appears that the EM heating/motion is not intended to keep the water from freezing, but to prevent (large) crystallization, which makes it approach amorphous ice in structure, and thus maintain mixtures (as opposed to freeze distilling) and reduce damage to cell walls.   

       Whether this could actually work, I won't say, but it appears to be the intent.
MechE, Apr 02 2013

       The use of RF to preferentially disrupt large ice crystals has been played with for a long time, with limited success. Like I said, it's a freezer with a microwave in it. Innit.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 02 2013

       [+] So the idea is to bake a frozen idea?
pashute, Apr 03 2013

       What [MechE] and [MaxwellBuchanan] said. Also, rapidly oscillating electric fields (at anything less than infra-red frequencies) do not act on (individual) water molecules. The agitation and heating they cause is a bulk effect.
spidermother, Apr 03 2013


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