How Rapid Drink Chillers Work

Mechanics of Rapid Drink Chillers

There's no doubt the invention of the refrigerator has changed the way we store and preserve food and drinks, making it easier for us to keep things like milk, juice and fruits and vegetables for extended periods of time. But that's just what a refrigerator is for -- storing food and drinks. It's not a refrigerator's job to cool goods in a speedy fashion. Most cooling units are big and have a lot of storage space, which means fluids don't cool quickly. It's just like air conditioning a room: the larger the room, the longer it'll take to lower the temperature.

So the first goal of a rapid drink chiller is to significantly reduce the amount of space. That's why, conveniently, they're fairly compact -- about the size of a toaster oven. At the same time, of course, they also need to provide a useful cooling system. A rapid drink chiller, specifically the most popular and readily available Cooper Cooler One Minute Drink Chiller, invented by Greg Liobl, uses cool water jets, ice and rotating rollers to do this. So how does it all come together?

Whether you want to warm up a cup of coffee or cool down a drink, either way you're relying on the transfer of thermal energy to do the job. In any hot material, the molecules are moving much faster than the molecules in a cold material, and therefore have a higher kinetic energy. The molecules in a hot cup of coffee have more kinetic energy than the molecules in a cold glass of water.

Rapid drink coolers pass cool water over your aluminum can or glass bottle as a roller spins the container. When cool water passes over the surface of the can or bottle, the water is colder than the surface it's touching. This allows heat energy from the warmer material -- the drink container you'd like to chill -- to transfer to the colder material: the cool water that passes over the container. The water that passes over the bottle or can is recycled into a compartment filled with ice (which keeps the water at cold temperatures), and the process repeats itself. The machine spins cans or bottles with an electric motor in order to cool the drink evenly.