September 14, 2004 Thomas Midgley famously demonstrated the non-toxicity and non-flammability of Freon in the 1930's when he inhaled the gas and then blew out a candle with it. Freon went on to be the standard element in refrigeration. Could this historic moment in the development of refrigerators be over shadowed by the advent of the self chilling can?
It is the stuff of science fiction but soon enough you'll be reaching in to the pantry for that ice cold drink. It's a paradox that's still a few summers away from supermarket shelves but the I.C Can is very real. Created by Tempra Technology and Crown Cork & Seal the I.C Can works through simple evaporation not compressed gas.
The I.C can is about the size of a normal 500ml can and holds just over 300ml of drink. The can consists of two compartments and cooling is activated by turning the base of the can which breaks the seal between both compartments. Click to view larger image Click image to enlarge
The top part contains an evaporator that has a layer of water gel sealed inside a vacuum on its inner surface. The bottom compartment is an absorber containing a clay drying agent and a heatable sink chamber. Upon activation the natural desiccant within the vacuum draws the heat from the beverage through the evaporator and is absorbed into the insulated heat-sink container.
Tempra Technology says that it is this patented vacuum-power which lowers the temperature so quickly- they claim the I.C can reduces its contents by a minimum of 16.7 degrees Celsius in three minutes.
Far from replacing refrigerators the intention is to use the I.C can where cooling devices can't be found. Indeed the prohibitive costs of the can will ensure this at least in the near future. Chief executive Barney Guarino of Tempra Technology said 'it is going to be a premium cost but we think it is sustainable...you only have to look at the widget in cans to see people are willing to pay more for what they want and that just foams the beer". The I.C can is most likely to be used for products in the alco-pop market.
The product is still being run through tests but the manufacturers believe it could be on shelves by mid 2005. But in a time of instant gratification 3 minutes still seems like a long time to have to wait in order to satisfy that hard earned thirst.
Information of the I.C Can may be found at the Tempratech web site.