The latent heat of fusion, ΔHf of a cryobiological medium (a solute laden aqueous solution) is a crucial parameter in the cryopreservation process. The latent heat has often been approximated by that of pure water (∼ 335 mJ/mg). However, recent calorimetric (DSC - Pyris 1) measurements suggest that the actual magnitude of latent heat of fusion during freezing of solute laden aqueous systems is far less. Fourteen different pre-nucleated solute laden aqueous systems (NaCl-H2O, Phosphate Buffered Saline or PBS, serum free RPMI, cell culture medium, glycerol and Anti Freeze Protein solutions) were found to have significantly lower ΔHf than that of pure water (Devireddy and Bischof, 1998). In the present study additional calorimetric experiments are performed at 1, 5 and 20 °C/min in five representative cryobiological media (isotonic or 1× NaCl-H2O, 10× NaCl-H2O, 1× PBS, 5× PBS and 10× PBS) to determine the kinetics of ice crystallization. The temperature (T) and time (t) dependence of the latent heat release is measured. The experimental data shows that at a fixed temperature, the fraction of heat released at higher cooling rates (5 and 20 °C/min) is lower than at 1 °C/min for all the solutions studied. We then sought a simple model that could predict the experimentally measured behavior and examined the full set of heat and mass transport equations during the freezing process in a DSC sample pan. The model neglects the interaction between the growing ice crystals and is most appropriate during the early stages of the freezing process. An examination of the coefficients in the heat and mass transport equations shows that heat transport occurs much more rapidly than solute transport. Hence, the full model reduces to one in which the temperature profile is constant in space while the solute concentration profile obeys the full time and space dependent diffusion equation. The model reveals the important physical parameters controlling the mass transport at the freezing interface and further elucidates the experimental results, i.e. the temperature and time dependence of the latent heat release.

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