COOLER TIPS & FAQ'S
WHAT DOES ROTO-MOLDED MEAN?
The rotational molding (roto-mold) process is a high-temperature, low-pressure plastic forming process that uses heat and bi-axial rotation (i.e. rotation on two axes) to produce hollow, one-piece parts. The Siberain Cooler mold is loaded with polyethylene in powder form. The mold is then placed in a large oven while it rotates on two axes at different speeds, which helps prevent powder from accumulating in one spot. The polyethylene is melted and adheres evenly to the wall of the mold. Once the polyethylene is melted, the molds are pulled from the oven to cool. Once cool, the ice chest is then removed from the mold.
The process has inherent design qualities, such as consistent wall thickness and strong outside corners that are virtually stress free. The rotational molding process gives our coolers a one-piece construction which affords strength and durability.
TIPS TO INCREASE ICE RETENTION IN YOUR SIBERIAN COOLER:
1. Always pre-cool your beverages and food before placing them in the cooler, otherwise ice will be wasted simply trying to cool them down.
2. Freeze plastic bottles of water. The frozen water will act as ice and will keep the other items in the cooler colder longer.
3. Try to keep your cooler in the shade as much as possible, otherwise cover it using a space blanket or reflective foil.
4. Pack items in your cooler in chronological order based on when you plan to use the items – pack items used first on top.
5. Pack the cooler tight and full.
6. When your trips are more than one or two days, use larger blocks of ice. They last longer.
7. Consider dry ice. Dry ice requires special care and handling, but will keep your food dry and your cooler contents colder.
8. Minimize the amount of times you open the cooler.
9. Always latch the cooler's lid shut so the gasket meets its full potential.
10. Do not drain the water from the cooler – the cold water from melted ice helps keep the items inside colder longer.
Melting point is a property of solids. The melting point is simply the temperature at which the solid turns into a liquid. For example, the melting point of normal ice is 32°F at standard pressure. The freezing point is simply the temperature at which the liquid turns into a solid. Thus the freezing point of normal freshwater is 32°F. The value of the melting and freezing points is the same (ie. both are 32°F for water).
Why you should "Pre-chill" your cooler before use with sacrificial ice:
2nd law of "Thermodynamics"- whenever materials of unequal temperature are in contact, heat will flow from one material to the other. (heat flows from warmer cooler walls to the cold ice) When different regions of a system ( cooler box) have different temperatures, heat energy will flow and the system is said to be out of equilibrium. When all regions have reached the same temperature, no heat energy flows and the system is in equilibrium.
If you add ice to a warm cooler, the ice will prematurely melt, absorbing the transferred heat from the walls and floor of the cooler box, reducing the ice retention time. So, before packing your cooler, add a few pounds of sacrificial ice and let it stand for about 4hours, then dump the remaining sacrificial ice and add fresh clear ice to your now pre-chilled cooler.
WHY PEOPLE ADD SALT TO THEIR COOLER:
Note: you need LOTS of salt (handfuls) for this stuff to work. Table salt is fine.
When salt is added to water it lowers the freezing point. Salt allows water to exist as a liquid at a temperature lower than 32°F. (This is the important part that’s relevant to beer coolers.) When salt is added to ice it lowers the melting point. In other words, the ice begins melting at a temperature lower than 32°F. This is why salt is added to ice on the roads in the winter. It causes ice, that would have otherwise remained as a solid in sub-zero temperatures, to turn to water. Note that the temperature of the water has not changed. It’s still at a sub-zero temperature but, as mentioned above, the salt allows it to remain as a liquid at the lower temperature.
How Does this Apply to Beer Coolers?
In two ways: chilling beers fast and keeping beers cold.
Chilling Beers Fast:
An important part of chilling beer fast is to maximize how much of the can/bottle’s surface area is in contact with the chilling agent, whether it’s ice, water, or cold air. Salt-water lets you chill a warm beer really fast — much faster than a freezer. Pour cold water, ice, and salt into the cooler to create a salt-water-ice bath. Why does it work? The ice will be at a temperature way below zero, usually 0°F for a household freezer. The ice will cool the water down and the salt will allow the water temperature to drop below 32°F. The beer will then be fully submersed in sub-zero water, maximizing the surface area in contact.
Without salt, the water will remain at a temperature slightly higher than 32°F even though you have 0°F ice cubes floating in it. If you only put ice in the cooler then less of the beer’s surface is touching the chilling agent (ice) since ice cubes are irregularly-shaped. It won’t chill the beer as fast as salt-water.
Keeping Beers Cold:
If your goal is to keep the beer cold for a long time (ie. if you go camping or on a picnic) it’s still a good idea to add some water and salt to the ice because it will make your beers colder initially which means they’ll stay cold longer. The salt will make the ice melt as well but the resulting water will still be very cold. The specific heat capacity of water is double that of ice, which means the sub-zero water will stay colder longer than plain ice will. You could argue that the starting temperature of ice is much lower (0°F) than sub-zero water (which might be just a few degrees below 32°F), or that adding salt to the water does lower its heat capacity by a tiny bit. So it’s a bit of a trade off.
DRY ICE VS. NORMAL ICE:
Food spoils soon in the heat. Lower temperatures help keep the bacteria away. Coolers are the safest means of transporting food on outdoor adventures. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. The temperature of dry ice is -109.3°F (-78.5°C). Handling dry ice requires insulated gloves because the extreme cold can cause frostbite. Regular ice is frozen water and not nearly as cold as dry ice.
Using Dry Ice: The most efficient packing method is to put dry ice on top of items in a cooler, because cold sinks, cooling everything in its path. Pound for pound, dry ice gives more than twice the cooling energy of regular ice. Dry ice keeps frozen food frozen. Dry ice sublimates (changes directly from solid to gas) with no intervening liquid state. Dry ice requires adequate ventilation because the carbon dioxide can cause breathing difficulty. Regular ice does not need extra precautionary measures, but once regular ice starts to melt, its cooling efficiency reduces and it melts to water, creating puddles in the cooler. However, regular ice packed between dry ice stays frozen longer and keeps your food from spoiling and your beers chilled.