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About ice

Ice - Information

What is the ideal ice temperature?    

The refrigeration capacity of ice:

Melting one kilogram of ice at 0°C creates 80 kcal of refrigeration capacity; heating water by 1°C produces 1 kcal, and heating ice by 1°C produces 1/2 kcal.

Consequently the main refrigeration capacity of ice is at melting point; the temperature of the ice has virtually no effect of the overall refrigeration capacity.  


Energy requirements for ice production:

The energy, which is used later in the form of refrigeration capacity, initially has to be used to produce the ice. For sub-cooled ice (ice below 0°C) an over-proportional amount of energy has to be used, as the ice itself has an insulating effect, which has to be overcome in order to sub-cool it.   


Ideal ice temperature:

The optimal temperature with regards to energy is therefore just below freezing at -0.5°C. The full refrigeration capacity of the ice lies here, without excessive amounts of energy having to be applied to produce the ice.    


When does ice freeze together?  

Ice is always exposed to a certain amount of air humidity and always emits moisture by melting. When this moisture re-freezes, the ice sticks together.  


The colder the ice is, the easier it is for the moisture to freeze. If defrosted water arises on the surface of an iceberg in a reservoir, then this water flows down the ice and freezes on the pieces of ice, it passes = the pieces freeze together. This effect becomes stronger, the longer the ice remains and the more moisture there is.  


As a result, for example flake ice at -7°C tends to freeze together into lumps after a few hours; this can be delayed by storing the ice in a room chilled to around -5°C.  


Chip ice at -0.5°C has the characteristic that the moisture does not re-freeze, as the temperature difference between the ice and the moisture is too low. As a result chip ice can be stored for days at temperatures above 0°C (ideally up to 4° to keep defrosting to a minimum), without freezing together. A light frozen layer merely forms on the surface, while underneath the ice remains loose and granular.  


Bulk weight of the ice:  

When calculating the storage volume the bulk weight is important:

  • 1.00 t / m³ for water
  • 0.92 t / m³ for block ice
  • approx. 0.50 t / m³ for chip ice or flake ice


That means that when storing 1,000 kg of chip ice, a storage area of 2 m³ plus a reserve for the inverted cone = approx. 2.5 - 3 m³ is required.    


How fast does ice melt?  

The greater the surface of the ice in relation to its volume, the faster the ice melts. i.e.: 


  • micro ice (with small chip ice particles) melts faster than macro ice (large chip ice particles).
  • scale ice (ice thickness of approx. 2 mm) melts faster than macro ice (ice thickness 9.5 mm).  


If fast melting = rapid cooling is necessary, then micro ice (or StreamIce®) should be used. 


If long durability (e.g. for transporting fish in warm conditions) is desired, then macro ice should be used.  

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