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The Freeze Drying Process
Get to grips with the wonderful process of freeze drying with our basics guide
How does the process work?
Freeze-drying is the only way that water can be successfully removed from
an organic substance and many other materials without damage to the cell
structure and loss of volatile components.
This entails freezing the substance or item, thereby separating out the
water as ice crystals, and then under vacuum, introducing controlled heat.
This causes the ice to sublimate, slowly coming away as vapour, without
actually melting. Eventually the ice will all have vaporised, leaving the
material completely dry, resulting in the minimum of change to the cell
structure, extra cellular matrix or chemical composition.
The process also requires a condensing surface that is at a lower temperature
than the material being dried for the vapour to migrate to. This is usually
an area of the machine that is below -50°C and can be as low as -80°C. The
vapour turns back to ice as it condenses on the colder surface and is not
drawn into the vacuum pump.
So there you have it a purpose built machine costing many thousands of pounds
just to freeze dry and preserve flowers in.
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