The objective of this project ( www.v-tex-technology.com ) was to develop a cooler that can accomodate drink cans and bottles and chill them rapidly. Products are stored at ambient temperature avoiding the energy use of a cooling system required to keep them cold. Product are chilled to the desired cold drinking temperature during the purchasing process.
The project was funded by the European Commission (Framework 7 Program) under the acronym RapidCool. Many previous efforts have been made to achieve rapid drinks cooling on demand. The problem has always been the time it takes to effectively cool the liquid. If the cooling is very fast then the outer layers of liquid freeze before the inner liquid is cooled. This creates "slushing" which is unacceptable to consumers. The way to avoid slushing is to agitate the liquid, however, when this is done to carbonated drinks it causes ﬁzzing when the drink is opened. 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. 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.