Purdue alumni David Page, Scott Lancaster, Kyle Ma, Chris Mead and Mitchell LoVerde may have graduated and left their days of working on their senior design project behind, but their project may soon be hitting the market — just in time for tailgate season.
The group's product can chill drinks from room temperature to 40 degrees in as little as a minute.
Page initially was joking when he suggested the taking an old technology like a cooler and adjusting it to actually cool the beverages, but the team loved the idea.
“My team (and I) were sitting around a table in the Mechanical Engineering building, brainstorming ideas, frustrated because we were shooting for the moon and trying to come up with world-changing, life-saving ideas,” Page said. “We weren't able to come up with something that we felt we could pull off in a semester, so I said ‘You know, screw it guys let’s do something fun that we could have a good time doing.’”
The entire group was excited about the idea of being able to have fun while doing a class project. Thus, the idea to make a cooler that could chill beers was born. The guys named the product the ChillNado.
“We wanted to give it a fun name because we figured it has to do with beer," Page said. "We wanted it to be fun and then we wanted people to learn the science behind it."
Current cooler designs allow drinks to remain at a certain temperature for a period of time, but they don't actively cool the drinks when they begin to warm.
The design of the ChillNado follows the basic design of other coolers on the market, Page said, but the ChillNado is able to cool the drinks through the use of convective heat transfer.
“When liquid is moving across an object, heat is transferred much faster,” Page explained. This added motion to the process is why the ChillNado cools drinks much faster, he said.
“The advantages of ChillNado include being able to quickly bring drinks to a desirable temperature, returning those drinks to a desirable temperature once they have warmed and doing all of this while achieving and maintaining beverage stability,” Page said. “We can cool drinks 10 times faster than if they were to sit stagnant in a traditional cooler.”
Page and his team, while no longer students in a senior design class, still hope their design will be successful in the market. Page said that they have coordinated with the Purdue Research Foundation to try and patent the idea of their cooler.
“We’re hoping if we get that patent we could license that technology out and then you could see a YETI branded cooler that utilizes our technology,” Page said.
The ChillNado can store up to six drinks at one time, cooling them from room temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in just over a minute.
Page and his team members are happy that the project ended up being as popular as it has been. When asked if he was considering a career around inventing, Page said he's happy where he is.
“For now, I'm pretty dedicated to seeing this career take off,” he said. “I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have to commit to inventing anything else in the future.
“We had a really good time putting this together and I think it has a lot of potential to see it go somewhere in the future.”