Understanding the Advantages of a Vacuum Insulated Container
If you’ve forgotten what you learned in school – even if that was last week, a refresher is in order to help you understand the effectiveness of vacuum insulated vessels. Picture a vacuum seal between two walls of high grade, 18/8 stainless steel. To appreciate why this is advantageous, let’s revisit physics class.
First produced in 1643 by Evangelista Torricelli, a vacuum is created when all of the air is removed from a sealed object. Skipping the intricacies of how this is done, let’s focus on a few details. To be precise, a vacuum is a space that is empty of matter. However, a perfect vacuum with absolutely no gaseous pressure at all is something that physicists only dream about, because it’s essentially unachievable. Even outer space is not nearly a perfect vacuum, but it is a better vacuum than present technology on Earth can generally produce. So, let’s focus on what is achievable – that would be a good quality vacuum, which implies almost nothing is in the enclosed space.
It might cross your mind to wonder why such a clever concept as a vacuum is essential to a container discussion. To fully understand, you also need a refresher on thermal conductivity, which is simply the ability of a material to conduct heat from one source to another. Virtually everything conducts heat, including Nuun electrolyte enhanced water, trees, white gas, and tinfoil; even the atmosphere that you breathe. The speed of the heat transfer depends upon the molecular composition. The less dense the material, the less it allows for heat transfer, as there are less molecules to dance around at the party!
That concludes the brief physics tutorial. You get bonus points if you’ve figured out that a vacuum is a very poor temperature conductor, because it’s composed of nearly empty space. This translates to specific scenarios: when you fill a vacuum insulated vessel, the temperature of the contained fluid remains steady for a prolonged period of time. Also, the hot or cold beverage inside doesn’t affect the bottle’s external temperature. That’s awesome when you’re packing boiling hot liquids for an overnighter. No burnt fingertips when handling the bottle… Even more important to me in the depth of winter, is that subzero temperatures don’t turn my hydration source into ice blocks! On the coldest days of winter, I won’t head for the mountains without a vacuum insulated 18/8 stainless steel bottle in my pack, because I’m tired of inferior hydration solutions that leave me thirsty.
Of lesser importance to one’s inner explorer, but still a nice feature – such bottles don’t get condensation on the outside surface. At all. Not even a hint. Puddles of condensed water on the resting surface where you put your bottle? A thing of the past.
Designers of vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottles were clearly taking good notes during physics class. As a result, any such designer has created a vastly improved hydration solution; one that’s ready to improve your experience in the mountains or at the office.