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Modelling heat transfer during chilling and freezing of packaged foods in industrial refrigeration facilities

Industrial refrigeration equipment companies are continuously looking for ways to optimise the design of chilling and freezing tunnels in order to minimise food quality loss and increase the energy efficiency of the equipment. However, possibilities for dedicated experimental tests of the industrial operations are limited due to a large amount of food product involved while the number of design variables to be considered is high. A cost-effective alternative to experiments is numerical modelling. The main goal of this research was to simulate heat transfer of packaged food products in a chilling and freezing tunnel. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models were developed to improve prediction in industrial cheese chilling and chicken freezing. The industrial cheese chilling model was developed based on six blocks of agar that mimic the product arrangement and airflow pattern of a cheese chiller; while the chicken freezing model represents the first case of a CFD freezing model where the geometry was derived empirically via computed tomography scan data. The model predictions were validated by experimental temperature histories generated as part of the study. Once validated, the model was used to investigate the cooling heterogeneity and the effect of different operating conditions on the processing time. In addition to the CFD model, a simple heat transfer simulation based on the one-dimensional finite difference method was developed for industrial users. Thermal property models in the literature were also reviewed to propose the most suitable choice for thermal processing calculations.
Type of thesis
Hoang, D. (2020). Modelling heat transfer during chilling and freezing of packaged foods in industrial refrigeration facilities (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13959
The University of Waikato
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