What’s an Airscape?

By Greg Seitz

Here at Planetary Design we put a lot of thought and effort into serving our customers, because frankly, we couldn’t exist without you.  We know that you’re curious, you’re big-picture thinkers, and you have questions. Questions such as:

  • How does the Airscape technology actually work?
  • Why two lids, instead of one lid with a really great seal? Isn’t this redundant?
  • How does food lose its freshness?
  • Am I -is everything- really marching alone, through time and space, destined to an inescapable fate of eventual decay?

Woah there, slow down.  This is a perfectly reasonable line of inquiry, and while the last one is a little bit out of our reach, we’ll do our best to put your mind at ease.

The Amazing Airscape

The inner lid does most of the work, while the outer lid provides backup as a secondary seal to buffer the effects of temperature change, and keeps out unwanted guests like dust and flies. You know when you’re really hungry but it’s still a half hour before dinner so you open that mostly-eaten box of crackers that’s been in the cupboard for a week, and what’s left isn’t so much crackers but slabs of cardboard/cat litter composite?  This kid knows.  The Airscape helps eliminate such indignities from your life.

The Airscape preserves freshness by minimizing the amount of air that comes in contact with food. The inner lid serves to eliminate empty space, forcing excess air of the container and creating a seal.  This nifty Airscape demonstration video shows exactly how.  Reusable containers typically allow for progressively more air to enter as the contents get used, leading to diminished palatability towards the bottom.  The Airscape mimics a vacuum seal by effectively shrinking the container as the contents are consumed.

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: We can’t live without breathing air, yet it degrades our food.  There’s no clear line between where fresh ends and staleness begins.  It’s all so intangible, so abstract, so unsettling.

Some (Potentially Excessive) Science Behind It All

When food comes in contact with air, it loses freshness via two mechanisms: humidity and oxygen.  Humidity mainly affects texture, while oxygen degrades food at the molecular level.

This degradation occurs for the same reason we breathe oxygen and carry it in our blood: oxygen is a fairly reactive gas.

Oxygen constantly undergoes chemical reactions, called redox reactions, which drive common processes we witness in everyday life.  Fire is a fast redox reaction, and our breathing is a slow one. Coffee loses its flavor via redox reaction, similar to apple flesh turning brown when exposed to air.  Interestingly, redox is also responsible for the formation of free radicals in our bodies, excessive amounts of which lead to cell death and cancer-causing mutations.  So, while oxygen gives us life, it also contributes to life’s end.  Redox isn’t good or bad, it just is.  Food will always degrade and cars will always rust, because like Neil Young says, rust never sleeps.

Of course, this discussion has ramifications so extensive and profound that it could just send you, the engaged reader and customer, into an existential tailspin of doom.  It’s a harsh realization that everything in the universe is going towards a state of chaos and disorder, true.  This is the nature of our existence; it’s always been that way.

This tendency towards chaos is a force known as entropy, and it’s as integral to the universe as gravity and time.  Spanning all scientific disciplines, experiment after experiment shows that disorder in the universe is constantly increasing, to the degree that it’s been declared law.

Let’s Do What We Can

But don’t dismay, because there’s nothing we can do about that.  What we can do is look at the entropy in our own lives, and decrease it by applying energy.  You and I can make choices and put efforts into fighting the entropy in our lives.  We can clean our bathrooms.  We can apologize and repair our mistakes.  We can work to create the lives of our design.  And considering the sheer magnitude of the forces around us, if we’re defying the laws of physics, pushing the inner lid into the Airscape is a fairly easy task.