Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Metallic Mercury Ice Cube Tray

For convenience....
  [vote for,

Ice cube trays come in two main varieties, plastic and aluminium. The plastic ones, if you buy quality, make getting the cubes out relatively easy. A simple lengthwise twist or two and you can usually manage to hook a fingernail in enough to retrieve a cube. Aluminium is a better heat conductor and should freeze the cubes more quickly, but it's inflexible, leaving banging the tray upside down on the counter top the only viable cube removal method.

Solution: metallic mercury freezes solid at around -39C. This is a lot colder than the standard domestic freezer, which is around -20C, so we will need super-cold compartment, or retrofit some form of heat pump. Once we have that, we make our ice cube tray. The tray will be simple in design, just a plan tray half filled with mercury. To fit into this is a ice-cube mould/mold which is pushed down into the mercury and clamped into place. Now, place the whole shebang into the small -45C freezer compartment we created earlier. The mercury freezes. At this point, you take it out, remove the positive- displacement cube moulding lid and pour in water. Quickly transfer it back into the -45C freezer compartment. Soon, you'll have frozen water ice cubes in a frozen mercury ice cube tray.

Here's the clever bit, you take the tray out and place it in the regular freezer. At -20C the mercury will melt, but the water remains frozen. Mercury, being a lot denser than water will flow down into the bottom of the tray, the water ice cubes will sort of merrily float about on top, easily plucked and inserted into a waiting glass.

bs0u0155, Jan 22 2016

inspired by: Mercury_20refrigerator
[bs0u0155, Jan 22 2016]


       You know, it's a real bummer that mercury turned out to be poisonous. Otherwise it would be so useful.   

       Hey, maybe it isn't poisonous. Maybe we were just told that because "they" wanted all the mercury for "themselves". "They" probably poisoned several batches of mercury with some other poison in order to get scientific studies from honest doctors to support this conclusion. Add in a few legends about the mad hatter and there you go.
scad mientist, Jan 22 2016

       //remove the positive- displacement cube moulding lid// <bangs lump of solid mercury repeatedly on the counter top> Damn! <bang, bang> It's stuck again <inhales subliming mercury fumes> Ohhh! <lump of frozen mercury comes free from lid, in pieces>
pocmloc, Jan 22 2016

       //Damn! <bang, bang> It's stuck again <inhales subliming mercury fumes>//   

       Ahhh, you've failed to account for my genius. Unlike water, metals just get smaller and denser as they cool. So the mercury becomes solid at -38.5C, then cools and contracts as it approaches -45C, it will cool and contract away from the mould. The positive displacement (I'm going with steel here I think) insert will also cool and contract in the opposite direction, upwards, because it's held up by the sides of the tray... and all the little inverse ice-cube dimples will shrink upward.
bs0u0155, Jan 22 2016

       hmmm... OK...
pocmloc, Jan 22 2016


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