Computer aided simulation for developing a simple model to predict cooling of packaged foods

Martin Gram Christensen, Aberham Hailu Feyissa, Jens Adler-Nissen

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A new equation to predict equilibrium temperatures for cooling operations of packaged foods has been deducted from the traditional 1st order solution to Fourier’s heat transfer equations. The equation is analytical in form and only requires measurable parameters, in form of area vs. volume ratio (A/V), thermo-physical properties calculated from the recipe, and the heat transfer coefficients measured in the equipment. The equation is based on an overall Biot number. The simple deducted model was tested and validated with experimental and simulated setups. Simulations have been performed using COMSOL Multiphysics, commercially available software, to test the new equation. Additionally, an experiment with all boundary conditions known, and the three dimensional coordinates of the position of six thermocouples were conducted. The COMSOL simulation showed very good conformity with experimental results matching all individual thermocouples. Simulations are used as a validation tool for cooling predictions. This was done by comparing the simulated equilibrium temperature with the calculated using the new equation. The simulations are able to evaluate cooling situations in the industry where experiments are too laborious or impossible to conduct. The deducted equation was tested for irregular geometries, unequal heat transfer and headspace restrictions. The new equation predicted equilibrium temperature curves of the simulated cooling with a low error (1.5°C for Fourier numbers below 0.3) and good precision at the target temperature (error below 0.5°C for Fourier numbers above 0.3).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event11th International Congress on Engineering and Food - Athens, Greece
Duration: 22 May 201126 May 2011
Conference number: 11


Conference11th International Congress on Engineering and Food
Internet address


  • Cooling
  • Finite element method
  • Irregular geometry
  • Heat transfer
  • Modelling


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