Avalanche research used to help make a better ice cream

Late-night fridge raiders everywhere should be happy to know this: researchers are using special technology used in avalanche analysis to improve Nestlé ice cream.

Scientists from the Instititute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Switzerland are looking into the process that causes ice crystals to form on ice cream when it is kept in the freezer—you know, the frozen chunks that blossom on the ice cream, reducing its taste and messing with its smooth texture? The institute has one of the only x-ray tomography machines in the world that can capture images at sub-zero temperatures. “Previously, we could not look inside ice cream without destroying the sample in the process,” Nestlé scientist Cedric Dubois told the BBC.

Dubois said that, so far, research has shown that ice crystals form as a result of fluctuating temperatures when the dessert is transported and stored. The hope is that they can prevent that from happening.