Technology

The Science Behind REALice®

The REALice technology allows water to self-organize into an ordered vortex movement.

The vortex movement is fundamental in nature, occurring in galaxies, tornados, mountain streams and even human blood flow.

The REALice® technology is able to generate a well-defined, multidimensional vortex at a considerably lower pressure and flow than what can be achieved through other techniques.

How it Works

The vortex generator’s inlet (pre-former) provides a smooth outward direction of the flow of the water
through a tornado-like motion towards a set of well-defined channels.

After the pre-former, the water is directed through a set of channels, each with vortex-forming geometry.  Each channel delivers a jet stream of vortex flow tangentially into a vortex chamber.

 

In the vortex chamber, the vortices from the channels are wound together, similar to how a rope is spun together from a set of threads.

A strong and stable vortex flow is formed inside the vortex chamber, causing a strongly reduced pressure along the vortex axis.

 

vortex

 

Macroscopic and microscopic gas bubbles in water will be pulled into the low-pressure zone in the vortex chamber.

The low pressure will cause them to expand and gather into large bubbles that can be easily extracted downstream of the vortex generator.

 

Effects on the Water

Viscosity decreased (water flows faster)0%
Heat capacity increased0%
Electrical conductivity increased0%
This process is called de-aerating

REALice® de-aeration demonstration and its effects on hard water

 

In untreated water, limescale appears in the form of calcite, which has an angular shape on the limescale crystal. This means that it easily attaches to other limescale crystals, pipes and nozzles, forming limescale deposits. Those limescale deposits obstruct the water supply and routinely have to be removed.

In water treated using the REALice® System, the calcite is transformed into Aragonite, which has a more rounded shape and, consequently, does not attach itself to other limescale crystals, pipes, tanks or nozzles.

Another advantage is that the treated water also acts upon old limescale deposits, which are reduced and eventually vanish over a period of time.

Watch the video demonstration: 

 

Ice Quality

Ice quality is largely subjective and varies with user groups.

What could be noticed, though, is that better ice:

 

  1. produces less snow
  2. creates fine-powdered snow

 

In the ice maintenance process, it’s not just snow that’s being removed when the ice resurfacer makes its rounds. As it moves around, the ice is shaved 1 mm to eliminate the scars on the ice and to make it nice and transparent again. Through ice crystal comparisons it was shown that the ice made with REALice-treated water is stronger, more homogenous and has a higher heat capacity, which leads to reduced energy usage in ice rinks. With the ice crystals being bigger, the density of the ice increases.

 

ice_crystals

 

This image shows ice crystals of normal ice (left) and ice crystals made after using REALice® (right) as seen in cross-polarized light. The scale at the bottom is in cm. (Source: Lulea Technical University, Sweden, May 2011).

 

How REALice Works

Other Qualities of Vortex Treated Water

As well as removing the micro air bubbles present in the water, the vortex generator also decreases viscosity by between 3% and 17%, depending on water quality and temperature of the water.

Using vortex-treated water, the viscosity of the water is lowered, causing it to flow out more easily, despite a lower temperature.

Albert Einstein proved as far back as 1905 that gas bubble content affects the viscosity of water. As those micro air bubbles (undissolved gases) are removed, a decrease in viscosity can therefore be expected.

In the end, this changes the way water freezes, producing an ice that is more homogenous and strong, and has a higher heat capacity leading to less energy usage in ice rinks.

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