Ice carving (here as depicted at the NRA Show in Chicago) is benefiting from a grant from ASHRAE.

Improved refrigeration technology and beautification come together in a teaching project being funded by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Through a grant from ASHRAE, students at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport will design and build a large-scale, clear icemaker for their refrigeration lab. The device also will be used by students in the School of Hospitality for decorative ice carvings.

The grant is one of 20, totaling some $118,000, that have been awarded by ASHRAE to colleges and universities worldwide to promote the study and teaching of HVACR, encouraging undergraduate students to pursue related careers. The grants are used to design and construct projects.

Currently, students in the Pennsylvania college’s hospitality school use small, clear ice blocks that include an unattractive seam where they are connected. The HVAC construction and design technologies students will build a device that produces a large-volume, monolithic, clear ice structure suitable for carving, which is more attractive than the seamed ice.

To do so, they will use mechanical refrigeration with an intermediate cooling fluid routed through a custom enclosure. The design also includes a reverse osmosis unit for water purification and a custom water distribution system to introduce the treated water into the enclosure. Heating strips will be incorporated to facilitate removal of the clear ice, while PLC controls are used to automate the water flow and freezing rates.

“The device will improve upon the state-of-the-art refrigeration systems used in developing optically clear ice,” Thomas Ask, faculty advisor, said. “The final product also will be beneficially used and appreciated by those in our school of hospitality.”

Publication Date:07/02/2007