Keeping insulin cool - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 08-04-2014
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

Our biggest problem with getting insulin pens and test strips is that she really does test 9-12X a day and we have to prove to the insurance company every three months that she does so.
Two years ago, she tried one of the first continuous monitors but didn't like it because it required being calibrated 3X a day and it had alarms that constantly went off at odd times. I hear they are now better and connected to the pumps to actually act as a sort of artificial pancreas.
The cooling things you can buy at pharmacies and on Amazon typically contain Ammonium Nitrate which when mixed with water absorbs heat. The ones that get warm typically contain very fine iron that releases heat when it "rusts" in water. The cooling ammonium nitrate reaction could be reversible if you could dry the ammonium nitrate (do not try this). I doubt I could get a permit to simply sell powdered ammonium nitrate for this gadget.
However, there is another totally innocuous ammonia compound (Urea)that can also be used and I wonder it is not used more. Compare the MSDS on ammonium nitrate and Urea and the ammonium nitrate one is 10 pages long whereas the urea one basically says "No problem". Urea is available by the ton for nearly nothing. The urea can be recharged by heating the solution on a stove till the water evaps with no danger at all. One can carry a couple ounces of dry urea to keep insulin below 85 for days just by adding water.

While we are on the subject, I have to add a plug for a new product being developed by a friend for type I diabetics. It is called Elovate15 and consists of a condom sized pack of 15 gms of pure glucose in a fine powdered form that dissolves instantly on the tongue. It works much faster than almost anything else and supposedly be absorbed directly in the mouth. My daughter says the small packets can be easily carried under spandex so nobody knows you have them. On at least two occasions use of the Elovate15 has allowed her to keep rowing when she had a low whereas almost anything else would be too slow to act.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

Wait a minute, you would buy urea? I thought you could process that out of urine.

But hey, you can buy ammonium nitrate at any farm supply store in those dirt cheap 50 pound bags. As a side benefit, after you've bought ten bags, you get free FBI protective surveillance on your home and boat. (VBG)
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

I'd think that if you tried to carry Ammonium Nitrate on an airplane you'd immediately go on the 'no fly" list whereas urea is harmless.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

Even better, try explaining to the Coast Guard why you have a huge sack of Ammonium Nitrate next to your diesel fuel tank and you are sailing up next to a natural gas unloading facility.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogwatch View Post
...
However, there is another totally innocuous ammonia compound (Urea)that can also be used and I wonder it is not used more....
Because has ~ 1/2 the heat of solution of ammonium nitrate and is, in practice, about 25% as useful. It just doesn't get very cold.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

My table shows a greater heat of solution for urea.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

I may have mis-read the table for heats of solution because I see that it is urea oxalate that seems much better than Ammonium nitrate. Urea nitrate is also much better but it is also a high explosive. I have not yet seen an MSDS for urea oxalate but will look.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

Ice is the standard in cooling because it answers most of the questions.

Need longer life, and don't need 32-40F temps?
* Use frozen sports bottles. They stand up to repeated freezing and last much longer than ice.
* Insulate the frozen bottle in addition to placing it in an insulated container. This will slow melting dramatically. A neoprene cozy. It will still keep the container below 80F and last a long time.
* A couple of frozen bottles in a 1/2 gallon insulated drink container can work very well. Place a couple sandwiches and fruit in the top and it provides for a pair for day in a very compact package. No mess.
* A wet sock can do the trick if the wet bulb is below 85F.

The heat of fusion of water (330J/g, or >400J/g if you consider that freezer ice is far below freezing) and the enthalpy of solution of ammonium nitrate (24KJ/mol, 300J/g) are the same; for sailing ice is better. The sole advantage of cold packs is they can be triggered in the field.
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Last edited by pdqaltair; 08-04-2014 at 09:15 PM.
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Re: Keeping insulin cool

Haven't read all the posts so this may be redundant--
What about keeping it in the water? You might be able to trail a watertight container on a stainless steel line, weighted as needed to keep it six or so feet deep in cooler water. Look for instance at gear used for fishing downriggers.
In salt water I suppose some larger fiish might mistake it for food but I'd imagine that could be dealt with and the risk of loss might be less than that of known high temps in the boat.
Another thought: condensation cools things--maybe keeping the container in the bilge wrapped in a wet cloth?
Good luck with it.
John V.
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