Creating Denser Ice with REALice

The REALice popsicle test

Creating Denser Ice with REALice

When operations folks tell us what they notice most about their REALice ice, a couple of things always come up. One is how the REALice-treated water sets up differently. The other is how they’re creating denser ice — so we decided to show you what that means and why.

Thick as Molasses?

Because the REALice System spins the water as rapidly as it does, the resulting water has fewer air bubbles (insulators) in it when it hits the ice below. The REALice-treated water has a lower viscosity compared to regular tap water, which also impacts how the water acts as it flows out of the ice resurfacer. The resulting water isn’t as thick as molasses, of course, but it sets up better, spreading richer than regular water, filling the scars and grooves in the ice easily — and that’s immediately evident to ice makers.

That denser ice has a couple of other side effects. It results in an ice which is more durable so skate blades don’t scar the ice as much as before — and when it is damaged, the ice reacts to repairs quicker.

But how much denser is REALice-ice? We decided to find out with the REALice vs Tap Water Popsicle Test!

The REALice Popsicle Challenge

The REALice popsicle test

REALice-treated water popsicle on the left versus cold tap water popsicle on the right

Popsicles were made from cold tap water and REALice-treated water samples taken from the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto, ON. After sitting in the freezer for a couple of weeks, a popsicle of each <flavour> were taken out, placed in glasses next to each other and the melting was allowed to begin.

Every 15 minutes, a picture of the melting process was taken.

The REALice-treated popsicle is on the left, with the aqua blue popsicle holder; the tap water popsicle is on the right, with the red popsicle holder.


At first, the REALice-treated popsicle and the tap water popsicle seemed to be evenly matched and there wasn’t a lot of melting going on and it felt a bit like watching paint drying! As time went on, however, there was a change in the drip rate. The tap water popsicle began to drip much faster than the REALice-treated popsicle — at a rate of about two drips for every one from the REALice popsicle. The tap water popsicle looked like this was a race it was determined to win. As dense as a popsicle could be, it couldn’t know, of course, that winning, in this case, meant losing…

The REALice popsicle challenge

Three and a half hours later, the tap water popsicle has slid down the stick. The REALice-treated popsicle is still hanging on.

The pace of dripping started to quicken. Suddenly, the tap water popsicle slid down the stick, landing into the melted water below. That happened exactly 3 hours and twelve minutes after the melting began.

The REALice-Treated Water Popsicle

“What happened next?” you are probably wondering!

The REALice-popsicle was in no hurry to follow the lead of the tap water popsicle and continued to hang on.

And on.

And on.

In fact, it remained anchored on its stick, reluctant to make the move for another 58 minutes.  The REALice-treated water popsicle, made with denser water, outlasted the regular tap water popsicle by a large margin.

The REALice popsicle challenge

The popsicles both melted; the water levels are similar for both.

When both popsicles had melted, the amount of water in each glass was quite even.

From Popsicle to Microscope

The REALice Popsicle Challenge is not scientific, but we do have scientific proof to back up our density claims. See the Ice Quality Comparison conducted by Lulea University – an investigation into the ice crystals formed by the water being treated with REALice.

What Does Denser Ice Mean in Real Life?

So, what exactly does denser ice mean in real life?

For Fred Kilner from the Fuller Lake Arena in North Cowichan, BC, it means the difference between having ice and losing it. In fact, Kilner is pretty adamant that REALice was their salvation to ice plant problems they were having. He says, “If we didn’t have REALice, I’m going to bet my pay cheque that we would have lost our ice.”

Fred Kilner

Fred Kilner, Fuller Lake Arena

“If we didn’t have REALice,” Kilner says, “I’m going to bet my pay cheque that we would have lost our ice.”

You can read more about the Fuller Lake Arena’s ice plant problems here but the short version is that if they had still been flooding with 160°F water — like they did before installing REALice — they would have run into big problems. It was, Kilner remembers, a turning point for him with REALice’s cold water resurfacing system.

“It used to be that if you were caught putting cold water on the ice, you’d probably be next in line to get fired. Now we’re thinking differently. Now we’re trying to see how we can save money and put alternative solutions to use.” Kilner says his slab can be run as as high as 21°F now, but before they’d installed the REALice valve, it was kept between 15°-16°F.

Why Not You?

Denser ice. Energy savings. Reduced compressor run time. Lower humidity. Lower Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions. What are you waiting for? Contact us today and find out how REALice will make a difference in your arena.