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Thread: Aluminum versus Stainless Steel cream whippers? (nitrous dispensers)

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    Aluminum versus Stainless Steel cream whippers? (nitrous dispensers) 
    #1
    So I'm looking to buy a cream whipper for recreational nitrous use. Seems that they come in both aluminum and stainless steel. The stainless steel ones are much more expensive than aluminum ones (~twice as expensive).

    Outside of cooking applications that are probably not relevant to my use, two things stand out to me about the two metals used in cookware: Stainless steel is more durable, aluminum has "excellent thermal conductivity", and stainless steel has "poor heat transfer and distribution".

    Durability is obviously a good thing, but I'm more interested in how relevant the thermal conductivity matters here. When doing a lot of nitrous, the dispenser can become a bit cold, and ideally you want the gas to warm up.

    For warming the gas fastest, and not having the dispenser become as cold, which metal would be most desirable? I don't have a huge grasp of thermodynamics here, but am I correct in that it would take longer for the stainless steel to become cold, but also take longer for it to warm up? Or would it just take longer to warm up?
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    #2
    Bluelight Crew Solipsis's Avatar
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    I would say stainless steel has a considerably higher specific heat capacity so yes it should require more heat energy to change its temperature, in this case to cool it. The gas expands in two stages and cools down during both stages.

    If the thermal conductivity of the steel is lower yeah it should also mean that the gas will not transfer as much heat energy and stays colder.

    All in all aluminum seems better for just a few whippits in succession but when you do more, the can will probably get so cold that there isn't as much heat transfer anymore because the cooling gas has less of a difference in temperature compared to the can.
    In comparison the steel one can probably take a lot more before it cools down like that, but the poor conductivity would mean that it "absorbs less of the cold of the gas" altogether. Using quotation because it's not really proper physics speak I think.

    Not sure if the steel one is actually better, it seems like the aluminum one is at least good for the first couple (and you can let it warm up again), the steel one would be more constant, but always a little shitty perhaps. If there isn't much heat transfer the nozzle may take more of the "heat" (i.e. cold ;p ) so it will break faster.

    I'm not gonna try to do actual calculations on this and neither should you IMO... overthinking it by a lot I'd say..

    To conclude: I doubt I would pay a lot of money to get the stainless steel one but I would focus more on the nozzle and whether it looks so much more solid and robust that it might be worth the overall quality.

    I think I have an aluminum one, it's been a while since I used it... I don't lobby for whippets using aluminum lol. You could also get creative by the way and combine with a blowdryer to reverse the cooling of the nozzle and cartridge connection. Hairdryers are way underrated, for example when your butter is hard from the fridge.

    IMO it's interesting that materials which feel cold to us (like to walk on barefoot) aren't actually cold but there is just a high rate of heat transfer from your body which you experience as cold.. even if all materials are actually room temp..
    Last edited by Solipsis; 16-05-2018 at 11:31.
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    #3
    A lot of the commercially available nitrous dispensers are really well built and should last you a long time. Occasionally it is a recommended to clean your dispenser to remove traces of oil in the gas (these deposit inside the dispenser canister, which gets dirty over time) and to clean the mouthpiece (ballon piece) etc. That's when it starts to wear down. I got in the habit of putting mine in the dishwasher and after four years one of the seals broke and my dispenser finally gave out recently. So I need to buy a new one too. I got a lot of usage out of mine, but if longevity is your goal, I suggest you wash by hand. I have a 1/2 L Aluminum dispenser and don't really experience problems with the dispenser getting too cold but personally might go for something more durable this time around. A quality stainless steel dispenser might have replacement part available too which the cheaper ones typically do not. Things to consider.
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    #4
    Either charger should work fine. Why not get a cylinder of nitrous oxide or another inhalant? Whippets are highly expensive.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Solipsis View Post
    I would say stainless steel has a considerably higher specific heat capacity so yes it should require more heat energy to change its temperature, in this case to cool it. The gas expands in two stages and cools down during both stages.

    If the thermal conductivity of the steel is lower yeah it should also mean that the gas will not transfer as much heat energy and stays colder.

    All in all aluminum seems better for just a few whippits in succession but when you do more, the can will probably get so cold that there isn't as much heat transfer anymore because the cooling gas has less of a difference in temperature compared to the can.
    In comparison the steel one can probably take a lot more before it cools down like that, but the poor conductivity would mean that it "absorbs less of the cold of the gas" altogether. Using quotation because it's not really proper physics speak I think.

    Not sure if the steel one is actually better, it seems like the aluminum one is at least good for the first couple (and you can let it warm up again), the steel one would be more constant, but always a little shitty perhaps. If there isn't much heat transfer the nozzle may take more of the "heat" (i.e. cold ;p ) so it will break faster.

    I'm not gonna try to do actual calculations on this and neither should you IMO... overthinking it by a lot I'd say..

    To conclude: I doubt I would pay a lot of money to get the stainless steel one but I would focus more on the nozzle and whether it looks so much more solid and robust that it might be worth the overall quality.

    I think I have an aluminum one, it's been a while since I used it... I don't lobby for whippets using aluminum lol. You could also get creative by the way and combine with a blowdryer to reverse the cooling of the nozzle and cartridge connection. Hairdryers are way underrated, for example when your butter is hard from the fridge.

    IMO it's interesting that materials which feel cold to us (like to walk on barefoot) aren't actually cold but there is just a high rate of heat transfer from your body which you experience as cold.. even if all materials are actually room temp..
    Yeah certainly not going to run any numbers here lol. Ended up just buying the aluminum one. I'm a fan of just inhaling the nitrous straight from the cream whipper, can get a nice controlled flow, easier to do consecutive hits to go deeper (oxygen in between lungs fulls of course) and no obnoxious sound of inflating balloons (and alerting everyone nearby of what you're doing).

    Made sure to buy a good brand. I've been using my friends lately, but the thing is filthy on the inside and he won't let me put it in the dishwasher cause its covered in sentimental stickers lol.
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