The information below was gathered from the 2018 Simcenter Conference - Americas that took place October 15-17 in Detroit, Michigan.
Author: Soha Birla, Principal Research Engineer
Canning, a classical method of thermal preservation, is still the basis of a very large food industry, despite the bargain quality of many canned products. The most challenging aspect of designing a thermal process is monitoring the temperature of the slowest heating particulates in a package which contains particulates, sauce, and headspace air. Since the precise location of the coldest spot within the container is not known, products are often over-processed; this leads to deteriorated product quality and operational inefficiencies. Sterilization in a continuous rotary commercial retort process involves heat, mass and momentum transport; as well as discrete particle interactions. To better comprehend these dynamics during sterilization, a 3D model was built in STAR-CCM+ software. This 3D multiphysics model comprises of Eulerian VOF phases for the steam side, headspace and liquid phase in can, and DEM particles for solid particulates. The developed model was validated with experimental temperature profiles of the can obtained in pilot plant retort. Once the average heat transfer coefficient at the can surface is determined, the model computation domain can be reduced to the can level for computing efficiency. Further, the model will be used for understating the effect of particles shape, size and loading characteristics on the heating profile of the slowest heating zone in the can.