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1

E. Purlis1, V. O. Salvadori12*

CIDCA Fac. de Cs. Exactas, UNLP y CONICET 2 MODIAL Fac. de Ingeniera, UNLP

Abstract. The production of ready-to-serve meals has been in continuous increase in the last years. Notwithstanding, there is a lacking of accurate methods to predict cooking times to ensure final safe products of optimal quality. Mathematically, cooking can be considered as simultaneous heat and mass transfers between food product and oven ambient. Modelling of cooking, including radiation, convection, food surface water evaporation with crust formation and volume shrinkage, may contribute to a better understanding of the overall process. Therefore, it is important to simulate heat and mass transfer during food cooking, considering different operative conditions (e.g. oven temperature, air circulation, air humidity, etc.). The objective of this work is to solve and to evaluate the dependence of temperature and water content on process time, during cooking of meat pieces of different regular and irregular shapes. The process is simulated using finite elements software (FEMLAB). The three-dimensional model was created extruding the scanned image of a two-dimensional transversal cut of the real piece. The software generated the finite element mesh automatically. The proposed model considers two regions: core and crust, with variable physical properties and convective boundary conditions. The numerical results are validated against experimental ones, obtained in a discontinuous convection oven.

1. Introduction

Meat cooking is a common operation not only in the industrial production of ready-to-serve meals but also in the catering industry. From a quality point of view, the cooking process must provide a final product with some specific characteristics (sensory properties, microbiological safety). The most important cooking requirement is to achieve a final temperature of 71C or 15 sec at 68C in the thermal centre to ensure safety from contamination by Escherichia coli O157:H7 (FDA, 1997). The cooking time can only be predicted with a complete knowledge of the thermal histories of the product. Food water content also plays an important role in the final characteristics of the cooked piece of meat. Therefore, a complete mathematical model must take into account the mass transfer between the food and the environment. Most of the published models refer to regular shapes: hamburger patties as an infinite slab (Zorrilla and Singh, 2000) or a finite cylinder (Ikediala et al., 1996), both of them without shrinkage; patties with radial shrinkage (Zorrilla and Singh, 2003), meat loaves (Holtz and Skjldebrand, 1986), meatballs (Hung and Mittal, 1995). Ngadi et al. (1997) worked with a real geometry modelling mass transfer of chicken drum during deep-fat frying. Finite difference method (FDM) and finite element method (FEM) were used to solve the models. But FEM is more appropriate to solve models involving irregular shapes. The reported models show different difficulties in relation with the simplifications considered in the resolutions: heat or mass transfer only, radiation contribution to heat transfer in the oven, loss of water because of evaporation, porosity and volume variation during cooking, crust formation, etc. Chen et al. (1999) developed

*

To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Address: CIDCA, UNLP Calle 47 esq. 116 (B1900AJJ) La Plata, Argentina. E-mail: vosalvad@ing.unlp.edu.ar

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a 2-D axisymmetric finite element model to simulate coupled heat and mass transfer during convection cooking of regularly shaped chicken patties, given actual transient oven air conditions and using variable thermal properties. But a model including simultaneous heat and mass transfer with variable properties and considering irregular shapes is not developed yet. Very few models proposed the optimization of cooking process depending on different criteria, such as product safety from a microbiological point of view and the maximization of overall quality (Erdodu et al., 2003; Zorrilla et al., 2003). The aim of this research is to develop a mathematical model that simulates simultaneous heat and mass transfer in three-dimensional pieces of meat. The three-dimensional geometry is created by extruding an image of a two-dimensional transversal cut of the real piece. Heat and mass conservation balances are solved using FEM software (FEMLAB). The proposed model considers two regions: core and crust, with variable physical properties and variable boundary conditions. The numerical results are validated against experimental ones obtained in a discontinuous electrical convection oven.

2. Theory

An appropriate mathematical model for cooking process must solve simultaneous mass and heat transfer balances:

w = Dm 2 w t

(1)

Cp

T = k 2 T t

(2)

Both balances were coupled according to physical properties, which depend on water content, as follows (Miles et al., 1983; Sanz et al., 1987):

1 1 w +

(3)

k = 0.080 + 0.52 w

Cp = 1448 + 2739 w

(4) (5)

The diffusion coefficient was considered constant, equal to 1 10-10 m2/s. Experimental work had indicated that while cooking the pieces of meat suffered a considerable weight loss, which is not taken into account in this model.

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During cooking, two zones were distinguished in the food: the core and the crust, being the principal difference between them their water content. Since physical properties of both zones depend on water content, both balances (Eqs. 1 and 2) were coupled. Therefore, the two zones were automatically considered in the model. Uniform initial conditions were considered:

w = w0 T = T0

x, y, z x, y , z

t=0 t=0

(6) (7)

Boundary conditions were established according to results of previous experimental work, using the same equipment under forced convection conditions (Purlis and Salvadori, 2005). As the oven was not humidified its relative humidity was very low (0.5 1 %). In spite of this, previous experimental work had indicated that food dripped water since the first minutes of the cooking process until the last one, probably due to protein denaturalization. This water loss produced weight loss in the sample but it didnt allow the surface drying. Therefore, boundary condition for the mass balance during the whole process was constant:

w = ws

Three stages were considered for heat balance boundary conditions:

k T = h (T (t ) - Ts ) k T = h (T - Ts ) Ts = Tiso for t < tr , where T (t ) = 0.25 t + 33.595 ( R 2 = 0.9894) for tr < t < tiso for t > tiso

(8)

(9)

The first stage was the starting period, in which the oven temperature (T) varied in time with a linear relationship. During the second stage, the temperature in the oven was assumed to be constant. In both stages a constant value of the heat transfer coefficient was considered. Finally, according to each experiments operative conditions (oven temperature, air speed, relative humidity, shape and size of the sample) the surface of the food reached a temperature (Tiso), which remained constant for a certain period. This temperature, close to 100C (Tiso = 100.5 C), corresponds to evaporation of water at the surface. During this stage part of the water at the surface evaporated but the major part was dripped. When the diffusion of liquid water from inside of the food to the surface is lower than the evaporation front advance the boundary condition should be changed for a convective type one. Besides, a moving boundary condition which describes the dynamic of the evaporation front must be applied. As a result, a continuous variation in the other two zones (crust and core) should be observed. This situation was not registered in any of the experiments at standard cooking times.

3.1. Samples Whole commercial meat pieces (semitendinous muscle) obtained from a local supermarket were used to perform the experimental cooking runs.

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The average initial weight of the samples was 600 g (length: 0.1 m; cross section: 5.6 10-4 m2) and the water content was 0.75 (w. b.). 3.2. Cooking Experiments Several cooking experiments were performed in order to validate numerical results. An electrical domestic oven ARISTON model FM87-FC was used. This oven has seven different cooking modes. Two of them were employed: - Conventional (natural convection): The temperature can be set between 60C and 230C (maximum temperature). Two heating elements are turned on and the flux of heat is uniform from the top and the bottom. This mode of cooking is recommended for slow cooking. The results obtained from using this cooking mode are not shown in this work. - Ventilated (forced convection): The temperature can be set between 60C and the maximum temperature, the heating elements and the fan are activated. As the heat flux is uniform in the entire oven, this mode is good for roasted foods that require long cooking times. In our experiments, the temperature of the oven was set to 180C. During the first 636 seconds the oven temperature increases with a linear relationship until it reaches the established value (the average final value was 182.37C). The oven air was not humidified. Samples with a uniform initial temperature, equal to 20C, were placed over a grill pan, placed in the centre of the oven (Figure 1). The cooking time was established as the necessary time for the thermal centre to reach 71C according to the microbiological criteria applied in these situations. Rigid (0.7 mm of diameter) and flexible (1 mm of diameter) T-thermocouples were placed in different positions inside the food and in the oven, and connected to a data acquisition DASTC system (Keithley, USA) in order to record the thermal histories. Heat transfer coefficient and surface temperature were measured with a heat flux sensor Omega HFS23, which was adhered to the foods surface. The average h value was 25 W/m2 C.

The water content (before and after cooking) was measured determining the samples dry weight, drying them in a vacuum stove at 80C. After cooking, several samples corresponding to different zones of the meat

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piece were selected to measure the water content profile. The weight loss was calculated by difference between the raw and cooked samples. 3.3. Geometry modelling First, an image of the meat piece transversal cut was captured. This image was then processed in a CAD software (AutoCAD) with NURBS mathematics. The irregular contour was reproduced by a B-spline curve. Secondly, the obtained curve was imported from AutoCAD to FEMLAB, where it was scaled up according to the real dimensions of the food (Figure 2). Finally, the curve is converted into a two-dimensional solid in FEMLAB and extruded to recover the real three-dimensional geometry (Figure 3).

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3.4. Mesh generation In 3-D, the domain (meat piece) is divided into tetrahedrons (mesh elements) whose faces, edges and corners are called mesh faces, mesh edges, and mesh vertices, respectively. The mesh vertices are sometimes called node points. The mesh was created with the FEMLAB internal function meshinit. In this work, 2111 elements were generated, with 621 nodes and 962 edges. Figure 4 shows the resulting mesh. 3.5. FEMLAB solving Once the finite element mesh was generated, physical properties and operative parameters were set to solve the problem. The solution was obtained in three stages according to the boundary conditions described in Section 2. Both balances were solved simultaneously using a time step equal to 1 second. Shorter time steps were not used because the time solution turned too high, even though the process was carried out in a PC AMD Athlon 1.67 GHz 1 GB RAM.

4.1. Mass transfer Meat water content was measured at different cooking times. The initial value was 0.75 (w.b.). Experimental values of water content corresponding to a middle transversal section of the piece of meat at the end of the cooking are shown in Table 1. These values indicate that the crust was more dried than the core, but it was not completely dried. The water content profile in the core is flat. This indicates that dripping is uniform along the whole meat piece during cooking. The weight loss also confirms the dripping theory. The final weight of the meat samples were 21% to 29% lower than the initial values. Volume contraction was also observed. Average reduction of 17% was registered in the length of the principal axis. 6

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Table 1. Experimental water content at the end of cooking in a transversal section of the piece. Position Crust (1-2 mm thickness) Superior Central Inferior Water content (w.b.) 0.55 0.66 0.68 0.65

Figure 5 shows the numerical water content profile, at time 3530 sec. The experimental surface value (ws) of 0.55 was used in the numerical simulations. When comparing the numerical results (Figure 5) with the experimental ones (Table 1), important differences are observed. This shows that in order to be accurate, the model should consider the dripping mechanism as a mass loss term in the mass balance. Also, results show that water loss by dripping is higher than water loss by superficial evaporation. The model should also consider the volume reduction. The difference between the minimum numerical value (0.77) and the initial one (0.75), was probably due to a computing numerical error.

4.2. Heat Transfer Figure 6 shows the thermal histories, both experimental and simulated. All the thermocouples were positioned in the central transversal cut of the piece but at different height. The positions during the experiments were the following:

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Te1: 0.0312 m from surface (approximate thermal centre), Te2: 0.002 m from surface, Te3: 0.001 m from surface, Te4: surface. The simulated curves corresponded to the following node position: Ts1: 0.0312 m from surface (approximate thermal centre), Ts2: 0.0137 m from surface, Ts3: 0.0087 m from surface, Ts4: 0.0037 m from surface, Ts5: 0.0007 m from surface, Ts6: surface.

Figure 6. Experimental and simulated thermal histories. Experimental positions: Te1: 0.0312 m from surface (approximate thermal centre), Te2: 0.002 m from surface, Te3: 0.001 m from surface, Te4: surface. Simulated positions: Ts1: 0.0312 m from surface (approximate thermal centre), Ts2: 0.0137 m from surface, Ts3: 0.0087 m from surface, Ts4: 0.0037 m from surface, Ts5: 0.0007 m from surface, Ts6: surface.

After comparing numerical and experimental results we are able to affirm that the model makes acceptable predictions of the cooking process. The temperature in the thermal centre is accurately predicted from 0 to 2200 seconds. Above that value the predicted temperature increases in a faster way than the experimental. The causes of this error could be: -Dripping: since thermal properties depended on water content, the water loss mechanism may affect the solution of the energy balance. -Volume reduction, which also affects the inner gradients of temperature.

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-The supposition of prescribed temperature in the last stage of the cooking. Although it is adequate to consider a real temperature at the surface, this might overestimate the temperatures which are close to the surface. This happens because the vaporization latent heat was not included in the heat balance.

5. Conclusions

The performed work has shown that the proposed method for modelling the real geometry of a threedimensional food with irregular contour represents satisfactorily the shape and volume of the food. Applying this mechanism different processes in which food engineering is interested (cooking, refrigeration, freezing, sterilization, drying) could be modelled, simulated and optimized properly. The model used to predict cooking of a commercial piece of beef fitted acceptably to the real process, in spite of the simplifications considered in this work. Still, it is necessary to keep on working in the development of a more complete model that represents more accurately the experimental results. This model should consider variable properties (water content and temperature), volume shrinkage, water loss by dripping and heat flux associated to surface water evaporation.

Nomenclature

Cp Dm h k t tr tiso T T Tiso To Ts w ws Specific heat, J kg-1C-1 Diffusion coefficient, m2s-1 Heat transfer coefficient, Wm-2C-1 Thermal conductivity, Wm-1C-1 Time, s Time necessary to reach pseudo-constant temperature in the oven, s Time necessary to reach constant temperature at the meat surface, s Temperature, C Oven temperature, C Isotherm meat temperature, C Initial temperature, C Surface temperature, C Water content, kg of water/kg of food (w. b.) Surface water content, kg of water/kg of food (w. b.)

Greek symbols w p . 9 Density, kg m-3 Water density, kg m-3 Solid matrix (proteins) density, kg m-3

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References

Chen, H., Marks, B. P., Murphy, R. Y. (1999). Modeling Coupled Heat and Mass Transfer for Convection Cooking of Chicken Patties. J. Food Eng., 42, 139. Erdodu, F., Balaban, M. O., Otwell W. S. (2003). Construction of Shrimp Cooking Charts using Previously Developed Mathematical Models for Heat Transfer and Yield Loss Predictions. J. Food Eng., 60, 107. FDA. (1997). Food Code, Chapter 3, 3-401.11. http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov//~dms/fc-3.html Holtz, E., Skjldebrand, C. (1986). Simulation of the Temperature of a Meat Loaf during the Cooking Process. J. Food Eng., 5, 109. Huang, E., Mittal, G.S. (1995). Meatball Cooking Modeling and Simulation. J. Food Eng., 24, 87. Ikediala, J.N., Correia, L.R., Fenton, G.A., Ben-Abdallah, N. (1996). Finite Element Modeling of Heat Transfer in Meat Patties during Single-sided Pan-frying. J. Food Sci., 61, 796. Miles, C. A., van Beek, G., Veerkamp, C. H. (1983). Calculation of Thermophisycal Properties of Foods. Project COST 90, Applied Science Publishers. London and New York. Ngadi, M. O., Watts, K. C., Correia, L. R. (1997). Finite Element Method Modelling of Moisture Transfer in Chicken Drum during Deep-fat Frying. J. Food Eng., 32, 11. Purlis, E., Salvadori, V.O. (2005) Modelado y Simulacin del Proceso de Coccin mediante Procesamiento de Imgenes y Elementos Finitos. In Proceedings of the X CYTAL, Mar del Plata, Argentine (paper 15-11, in press). Sanz, P. D., Alonso, M. D., Mascheroni, R. H. (1987). Thermophysical Properties of Meat Products: General Bibliography and Experimental Values. Trans. ASAE., 38, 283. Zorrilla, S.E., Singh, R.P. (2000). Heat Transfer in meat patties during Double-sided Cooking. Food Sci. Technol. Res., 6, 130. Zorrilla, S.E., Singh, R.P. (2003). Heat Transfer in Double-sided Cooking of Meat Patties considering Two Dimensional Geometry and Radial Shrinkage. J. Food Eng., 57, 57.

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by grants from CONICET, ANPCyT (PICT 2003/09-14677) and UNLP.

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