Jane was different from the other kids. While all the other kids were playing with fire, Jane played with ice. Now, Jane has grown up and is an accomplished scientist or engineer in your discipline of choice.

Jane never got along with Joe, and after an argument between them, Jane has decided to literally freeze their relationship, by completely freezing Joe's entire body. (In this case, we can take "freeze" to mean "reduce the temperature of the object in question to 273 kelvin or lower, and turn any liquids into their respective solid forms".) She realizes that this will probably get her into trouble with the authorities, but she's okay with that.

Both of them are ordinary adult humans without any superpowers. Jane has access to whatever equipment and facilities might reasonably be available to a scientist or engineer in your chosen discipline. The technique is not required to work (or not work) in any particular location; it just needs to work somewhere she can plausibly get Joe. (So no cheating by taking a trip to Titan, and the South Pole on Earth is probably stretching it.)

Joe does not need to survive the process, or perish from it. He is, however, not a willing participant.

Jane is allowed to work anywhere it's reasonable for someone with her credentials to be working, but it's a big bonus if she doesn't require the assistance of coworkers to pull this off, as said coworkers might not be as inclined as she is to deal with the legal backlash.

What can someone like Jane do in order to, in as little time as possible, freeze Joe? Roughly how long will the process take?

Magic not allowed; answers should conform to known sciences.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Interesting idea. Two question: 1) Does Joe have to survive the process? 2) Is Jane allowed to work somewhere like Alcor, that specializes in freezing people? $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 Survival of Joe is optional. Jane is allowed to work anywhere it's plausible that someone with her credentials might work, but it probably helps if she doesn't need the cooperation of a dozen coworkers to pull this off (they might not be so willing to live with getting in trouble with the authorities as she is). $\endgroup$
    – user
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


Jane is an accomplished scientist or engineer and she has access to liquid nitrogen, as it is used in the facility where she works. The work place can be as simple as a food processing plant.

Path 1

  1. She can fill a container, large enough to contain Joe's body, with liquid nitrogen. Let's say about 80 liters volume. Filling can take about 30 minutes.
  2. She makes Joe unconscious. 1-2 minutes with the proper mean.
  3. She drops the body in the container. Another 30 minutes to carry the body and drop it.

Total: 1 hour

Path 2

a. Jane induces Joe to go next to the liquid nitrogen tank (like the one in the picture). This is variable, from minutes to hour.

b. She blows the bottle, getting Joe drenched in liquid nitrogen. This is a matter of seconds.

Total: depending on how much Joe trusts Jane.

liquid nitrogen tank

Note: What Jane is trying to do is also used in Promession

Promession involves five steps:

  1. Coffin separation: the body is placed into the chamber
  2. Cryogenic freezing: liquid nitrogen at -196 °C crystallizes the body
  3. Vibration: the body is disintegrated into particles within minutes
  4. Freeze drying: particles are freeze dried in a drying chamber, leaving approximately 30% of the original weight
  5. Metal separation: any metals (e.g., tooth amalgam, artificial hips, etc.) are removed, either by magnetism or by sieving. The dry powder is placed in a biodegradable casket which is interred in the top layers of soil, where aerobic bacteria decompose the remains into humus in as little as 6–12 months.
  • $\begingroup$ Too Increase Speed... use path 1, but since Joe is unconscious, apply the liquid nitrogen internally (intravenous, feeding tube and enema) as well. Most human heat and moisture are hidden on the inside. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2017 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ @HenryTaylor, if you have ever worked with liquid nitrogen you know that what you suggest is highly unpractical (to put it mildly) $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:43

You may want to look into cryonics. Cryonicists have got all that figured out for Jane. They have not figured out how to thawn Joe back safely yet, though. But then again, according to them, it's just a matter of time until someone figures that out.

But seriously, they take freezing speed into account when you go freezing a corps... Er, person.

Their technique is really simple. Throw the body into a container full of liquid nitrogen. It takes only a few seconds a few hours before the body gets completely frozen. More about it in this link:

On arrival it is put into an arctic sleeping bag and cooled by nitrogen gas to -110C over several hours.

When it does, it will be rock solid. Don't just believe me because I wrote that. Look at what it does to a few things small enough to freeze in a shorter amount of time:


  • $\begingroup$ It might take only a few seconds for the outer skin of the body to freeze, but how long does it take for the entire body to freeze? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling I have edited the answer to include a proper timeframe. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2017 at 18:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .