Effective diffusivity and evaporative cooling in convective drying of food material
This article presents mathematical models to simulate coupled heat and mass transfer during convective drying of food materials using three different effective diffusivities: shrinkage dependent, temperature dependent and average of those two. Engineering simulation software COMSOL Multiphysics was utilized to simulate the model in 2D and 3D. The simulation results were compared with experimental data. It is found that the temperature dependent effective diffusivity model predicts the moisture content more accurately at the initial stage of the drying, whereas, the shrinkage dependent effective diffusivity model is better for the final stage of the drying. The model with shrinkage dependent effective diffusivity shows evaporative cooling phenomena at the initial stage of drying. This phenomenon was investigated and explained. Three dimensional temperature and moisture profiles show that even when the surface is dry, inside of the sample may still contain large amount of moisture. Therefore, drying process should be carefully dealt with otherwise microbial spoilage may start from the centre of the ‘dried’ food. A parametric investigation has been conducted after the validation of the model.
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