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How Freeze-Drying Works

The four-step freeze-drying process provides the framework for effective freeze-drying. This is how the freeze-drying unit produces exceptional results:

  1. The object to be freeze-dried must be frozen solid to lock the structural form firmly into place. The object is positioned before freezing to assure the shape you want at completion.

  2. A condensing surface is provided which is colder than the product to be dried. This surface is typically colder than 40 degrees Centigrade. The condensing surface helps attract the ice vapor and protects the highgrade vacuum pump from water, oils and fats that might be part of the composition of the product being dried.

  3. A vacuum pump provides a very low absolute pressure. The Freezedry Specialties vacuum is a leak proof space void of air. During the process of freeze-drying, the equipment actually creates a lower-level of atmosphere than the pressure found in outer space.

  4. A heat source completes the process. By providing this last stage of heat, the freeze-dryer promotes the release of bound water from the product

What is Freeze-Drying?

The process of freeze-drying is a simple one which removes moisture from a frozen material while it remains in a frozen state retaining the object's shape and structure.

Also known as lyophilization, freeze-drying is the most natural means of preservation and it produces a result that favors extended storage for natural items, preserving the item's natural beauty. Freeze-drying is ideal for the preservation of floral products, whole animals, foods, drugs and even for the recovery of water-damaged items from fires or floods.

The Origins of Freeze-Drying

Originally introduced in 1813 by William Hyde Wallaston to the Royal Society in London, the procedure was known as sublimation (converting a liquid in a frozen state directly to a gaseous one). A form of freeze-drying also was practiced by the ancient Indians in the high Andes Mountains. Other processes have tried unsuccessfully to compete with the results of freeze-drying. Processes involving chemicals, cryogenics, sterilization, irradiation and dehydration have been attempted by others, but freeze-drying still is regarded as the finest method of capturing the original state.

With the development of mechanical refrigeration and vacuum systems during World War II, freeze-drying was developed to assist the storage of human plasma. Currently, scientists, museums, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, food producers, florists and taxidermists are the strongest professional sectors employing the use of freeze-drying technology.

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