Making ice cream or aging batteries – they have similarities

Serious Eats took after making ice cream without any special equipment. The problem is one that is very similar to how you keep your lead acid batteries from sulfating. How do you keep those crystals from growing into “something more akin to a wet concrete with shards of broken glass.”

With ice cream, you need to agitate it while it freezes to keep the crystallization under control. With lead acid batteries, you also need to keep the electrolyte stirred to keep the crystals from growing large and hardy.

In the quest for making ice cream without the usual equipment, Kenji experimented with the chemistry – much as lead acid battery manufacturers do for their product. After that it was materials prep – like batteries with the red lead paste. Then was the final construction phase and technique. Flash freezing was the key for smooth ice cream.

If you want to make some ice cream in your RV in small amounts without specialized equipment, ice, and rock salt, you might check out the recipe for Real Ice Cream Without the Machine ».

Then you can put on your physical chemist’s hat and think about how crystallization is important in your RV experience whether it is ice cream or lead acid batteries or, come to think of it, the cooling process your refrigerator uses. The absorption refrigerator in RV’s often fail because the ammonia solution crystallizes and blocks the flow that carries heat out of the fridge. What else might there be like this?

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