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Old 09-19-2011, 11:14 PM   #1
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Default Propylene glycol (RV antifreeze)

I made a heat exchanger out of copper pipe and froze the whole thing into a block of ice in my freezer. The idea was that I could run propylene glycol through it, and route the hoses out of the freezer and into a heat exchanger in my beer fermentation chamber.

It was a great idea, but it turns out the RV antifreeze I bought freezes solid inside the thing. The jug says "protection to -50F!" so I figured I was surely safe at the what, 10F in my freezer. Not so apparently. This confuses me. Car antifreeze surely doesn't freeze that easily. Is RV antifreeze that much worse than car antifreeze? Is there anything else I could use? I didn't want to use car antifreeze because of the whole kidney failure thing. Would it help to dilute it with methanol or something?


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Old 09-19-2011, 11:17 PM   #2
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Read the instructions again. You might be missing a step. Antifreeze needs to be mixed with water. Some stuff you buy is already mixed, other stuff you have to mix yourself. The right mixture with water actually lowers the freezing point.


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Old 09-19-2011, 11:34 PM   #3
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RV antifreeze will "slush" up but not freeze and break things at temps below freezing, thus offering burst protection to a low temp.

There are propylene glycol antifeezes for heating systems like Cryotek -100 that will offer flow at lower temps and still be nontoxic.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:43 PM   #4
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RV antifreeze isn't just propylene glycol, there's several other things in it. But as Lechien said, the protection they mention to -50F is just that it will slush up that cold. The jugs that I have even mention that at temps near 0F it will start to slush.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
I made a heat exchanger out of copper pipe and froze the whole thing into a block of ice in my freezer. The idea was that I could run propylene glycol through it, and route the hoses out of the freezer and into a heat exchanger in my beer fermentation chamber.

It was a great idea, but it turns out the RV antifreeze I bought freezes solid inside the thing. The jug says "protection to -50F!" so I figured I was surely safe at the what, 10F in my freezer. Not so apparently. This confuses me. Car antifreeze surely doesn't freeze that easily. Is RV antifreeze that much worse than car antifreeze? Is there anything else I could use? I didn't want to use car antifreeze because of the whole kidney failure thing. Would it help to dilute it with methanol or something?
was there water in the copper pipe that froze?
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
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RV antifreeze isn't just propylene glycol, there's several other things in it.
Exactly. PG alone isn't harmful in regular quantities. They use in in everything from cosmetics to candy.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:21 AM   #7
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Is it true that the freezing point is lower when mixed with water? I'm skeptical.

I thought about trying a mix of the RV antifreeze and alcohol. Do you think pure alcohol would work?
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:55 AM   #8
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Is it true that the freezing point is lower when mixed with water? I'm skeptical.

I thought about trying a mix of the RV antifreeze and alcohol. Do you think pure alcohol would work?
I don't think it is. The reason for mixing water into antifreeze in your car is the boiling point not the freezing point.

Alcohol would help. But do you really need it that cold? Why not warm it up a bit and use more volume?
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
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How can I warm my freezer up? I mean I can turn the thermostat up, but if the glycol freezes now I just somehow doubt that I can turn it up enough to ensure it won't freeze; it's not like the thermostat is on -50F now.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:34 PM   #10
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How can I warm my freezer up? I mean I can turn the thermostat up, but if the glycol freezes now I just somehow doubt that I can turn it up enough to ensure it won't freeze; it's not like the thermostat is on -50F now.
you would have to override it with a controller.


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