Freezing locks

I've got a purely hypothetical question:

ISTR that at one time, freezing locks with Freon was a popular way to break them. The theory being that you freeze the lock mechanism or shackle until it becomes brittle, then use a hardened hammer to smash it.

Now I'm being told that's an urban myth.

I come here seeking expertise on frozen metal - is it practical / possible to freeze steel to where it becomes brittle using a can of Freon? The technique was to use Freon under pressure, then "spray" it on the lock. The Freon cools as it expands, freezing the metal.


Reply to
Kamus of Kadizhar
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Somebody's been watching too much James Bond......

Reply to
Jeff Sellers

Yeah! That is about as convenient as the ubiquitous ventilator shaft we see in every other movie or TV bit. No prison drama would be complete without the ventilator shaft for the bad guys to crawl to freedom. Also, didcha ever notice how in the movies there is always a convenient parking space just outside, or how the phone is answered on the first ring? Or, or -- curtains are always left open so the bad guys can see in, esp. at night. The hero detective is on duty all hours of the night. Etc, etc, etc .. ad nauseum. Most directors would be out of their jobs if it were not for these entertainment "clichés".

Bob Swinney

Reply to
Robert Swinney

And I can only name one movie where anybody goes to the toilet. (Die Hard (2?))

Reply to
Ian Stirling

Pulp Fiction (Travolta) and the Naked Gun movie where Leslie Neilsen (as Lt. Frank Drebin) goes to the can wearing a wireless mike.

Best regards, Spehro Pefhany

Reply to
Spehro Pefhany

Reply to
David Billington

Last Tango in Paris.


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Reply to
jim rozen

I wonder if Al Patrick has seen this question yet?

(See "Railroad Track Anvil" thread on sci.engr.joining.welding)

Reply to

You forgot Pulp Fiction, where John Travolta gets blown away with his own machine gun after taking a dump in Bruce Willis's apartment ..

Reply to
Grant Erwin

I'm not sure about freon, but I know liquid nitrogen works on tempered security chain and lock hasps. Pour it on the chain, give it a tap with a hammer (or drop it on the floor), and it shatters like glass. It's a standard lab demonstration of how temperature changes metal properties (along with the lead bell that sounds like silver at liquid N2 temperatures).


Reply to
Jim McGill

In the movies, yes. In reality, not even a little likely. Freon won't even get kinda-sorta close to the temps where you could expect steel to shatter from a hammer-blow. I think (I'd have to look it up to be certain) that the "bottom end" temperature you'd be able to get out of a can of Freon *UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS* is somewhere in the -80 - -110 range. Temps which, although not widespread (We're talking about temps that are going to be seen outside a cryo lab only at/near the poles here on Earth) do exist outside the lab, and where steel has held up quite nicely, thank you.

Now, if you were to try the trick using liquid nitrogen or hydrogen (Your high-school science teacher DID perform the classic "Dip a hot-dog in liquid nitrogen for a few seconds, then drop it and watch it shatter like it's made out of fine bone china" demonstration, right?) you might be able to accomplish the trick. But a can of Freon just isn't going to do it.

Reply to
Don Bruder

Austin Powers...


-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @

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Reply to
Tim Williams

Freezing lox? Sure, no problem. Just stick it in the freezer for a couple hours.

Haul it out, put on a bagel with some cream cheese, and microwave or toast to your taste.

The theory being that you freeze the lock mechanism or

Oh, You did mmean l-o-c-k-s, _that_ kind of locks! Thought the spelling looked off.

Never mind.

Reply to
John Husvar


Reply to
Bob Robinson

Oh thank God ....a Real answer...I thought this thread was going straight into the toilet !!! < Huge Grin>

Reply to
Jeff Sellers

Not with Freon. Urban Myth - if the metal is that weak, they'd only need the hammer and hit it two or three times.

Now if you have some Liquid Nitrogen in your back pocket (in a stainless Thermos, naturally...) you might get a lock cold enough to shatter, but that stuff is hard for the average criminal to get.


Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman

Well ... once, a burglar *did* try to crawl though the ducting to get into a photo store which I used to frequent. It made a mess of the ceiling -- but the burglar got stuck, and was there for the police who came to see about the burglar alarm. :-)

So -- at least this burglar wannabe believed in the movies. :-)

Enjoy, DoN.

Reply to
DoN. Nichols

IIRC, the rivets on the Titanic became brittle in the 20 deg range causing the ship to break up. The steel had too much sulphur.

Reply to
Nick Hull

Or, if freezing locks with Freon doesn't work, how about freezing locks with LOX?

R, Tom Q.

Remove bogusinfo to reply.

Reply to
Tom Quackenbush

Reply to
David Billington

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