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Question about Ice in a drink cooler

  1. Oct 26, 2007 #1

    qtp

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    Hi,
    This is not directly related to any assignment but I have a question. Is it better (meaning the drinks in the cooler will stay cold longer) to leave the cold water in a cooler or to drain the cold water out of the cooler.

    Personally, I am inclined to think that you maintain a higher heat capacity with a cooler full of cold water (provided it is already colder than ambient) than you do with a cooler full of cold air. Please add your .02 c
    Thank you,
    Preston
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2007 #2

    Shooting Star

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    I agree with you.
     
  4. Oct 27, 2007 #3

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, you are correct.
     
  5. Oct 27, 2007 #4
    Yes, one great advantage is the more efficient transfer of heat through a liquid as opposed to air. You can see a good example of this in the quick wine coolers at spirits stores.
     
  6. Oct 27, 2007 #5

    qtp

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    thank you for your input :)
    Preston
     
  7. Oct 27, 2007 #6
    Personally I think that you would need to do an experiment to find out. As the ice melts and turns into water, this water allows for greater heat transfer into the ice, according with the information of TVP45. In other words, allowing the melted water to escape increases the insulation inside the cooling container (the insulation in this case being the air and other non-liquid contents).

    Perhaps the other's are right, but I don't see the answer as being very obvious, and certainly the question seems non-trivial from an analytical standpoint.
     
  8. Oct 27, 2007 #7

    Shooting Star

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    If the shape and construction of the cooler were non-standard, certainly an expt would be called for.

    But since the thermal capacity of water is so high compared to other materials, I think this factor would far outweigh the insulation provided by air and other stuff.
     
  9. Oct 27, 2007 #8

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    So, you are saying that the drinks would get warm faster due to retaining of the cold water, becasue heat would be transferred inside more efficiently?
     
  10. Oct 27, 2007 #9
    No, the drinks have a higher temperature than the ice. Thus, heat always flows from the drinks out to the ice where the high latent heat provides a good sink. The effect of the water is to provide efficient transfer (conduction) of that heat.

    When you want to freeze something manually, you use a mixture of rock salt and ice with the container inside. When you do this, you find that you must keep water around the container in order for this to work. Old fashioned home-made ice cream freezers actually had a drain hole near the top of the ice compartment.
     
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