Vortex-Based Technology Cools Drinks In Less Than A Minute

The worst part of buying your preferred thirst-quenching beverage? Waiting for it to get cold. True, you'll almost always have the option of grabbing something from a store fridge, but there's definitely a market for a device that can take a room-temperature drink and transform it into a crisp, cool liquid within a convenient time frame. Yay for us then that this tech exists today and can work its magic within 45 seconds.

UK-based Enviro-Cool Limited has developed a technology based on Rankine vortices, called V-Tex, that given this 45-second window, can chill a drink down to 5°C. According to a story on Foodbev, the company was provided a €932,000 grant from the European Union to get the wheels spinning on a commercial product.

If you're wondering how Enviro-Cool works its magic, here's a handy description from its website:

The team found that by rotating the beverage at a certain speed to create a Rankine vortex the carbonated liquid could be mixed without disruption to the bubbles of carbon dioxide. The team also discovered that by simply rotating the beverage the vortex behaved like a solid, with the outer liquid cooling faster than the inner liquid. Tests showed that cooling rates could be improved by collapsing the vortex and then recreating it; this was achieved by a stop start rotational sequence ... Further tests revealed that it was possible to interrupt the vortex without stopping the rotation. This was achieved by rotating the beverage around twin axes.

Other than making things super-cold, super-quick, the tech also has significant energy benefits. The Foodbev article mentions a £700 saving per fridge replaced, though it'd be nice if there were more details comparing size, power-use, etc. to get a expanded idea of just how much better it is.

Yet, even without the numbers, it's easy to understand how cooling drinks as needed, rather than keeping them constantly cold in inefficient fridges, would be the greener alternative.

[V-Tex, via Foodbev]

Image: Cambridge Brewing Co. / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0


Comments

    Cool appliance (pun intended), however it appears that it uses readily understood physics, therefore is not a novel idea, but appears "obvious to one versed in the art". (Hence the general concept (industrial process) is likely to be not patentable.)

    Of course if one were to copy the exact mechanism, that may breach a design patent, just like phones with rounded corners.

    Last edited 22/09/13 9:20 am

      of course, no general concept is patentable. Patents are for inventions.

      They can certainly patent the method for inducing Rankine vortices in beverages.

    these are carbonated beverages - how do they take being spun? do they explode like when shaken when you open then?

      " The team found that by rotating the beverage at a certain speed to create a Rankine vortex the carbonated liquid could be mixed without disruption to the bubbles of carbon dioxide. "

      without disruption. :)

      The team found that by rotating the beverage at a certain speed to create a Rankine vortex the carbonated liquid could be mixed without disruption to the bubbles of carbon dioxide.

      My guess is that the vortex doesn't agitate the dissolved CO2 as much as shaking would,

      Do a test, get a coke or a beer, and stir it until it froths up just like it was freshly poured...
      (Not likely to happen), then get the same beverage, and put it back into the bottle (or another sealed container) and shake it... It should froth again when reopened and poured out)... (Just illustrating the differences between vigorously shaking and spinning/stirring/generating a vortex..

      (I haven't done this experiment, so give it a go and report the findings....) lol.

    Cooling drinks as needed is a good idea - until you realise you need to keep them cold all the time to keep them from going bad. Derp.

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