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Resources for Computer-Aided Food Process Engineering

Mathematical models, made possible with results of other NC1023 objectives, can be used to predict changes in process outcomes in response to changes in process conditions. These models are based on a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms that underlie a process, and the influence of process, product or equipment variables on the quality and safety attributes of the food product. Models also provide insight into conditions that are needed to ensure desired outcomes, particularly under conditions where experimental measurements may be unreliable. Once a model has been proven accurate, it can be used to simulate process conditions and reduce the need for pilot and plant scale trials. Such models can be used to seek and find optimum sets of process conditions that will maximize a desired outcome or minimize an undesired outcome while satisfying all necessary constraints. With the increased capabilities of computer technology and increased understanding of the physics, biochemistry and microbiology of food processes, modeling is playing increasing roles in both design and research in industry as well as in academia.

The intended audience for the information below is anyone who is looking to develop models. They are mostly written as software (commercial or otherwise) independent. With the availability of many commercial equation solvers (e.g., MATLAB, FIDAP), the critical step often is in PROBLEM FORMULATION rather than how to solve the equations. Problem formulation refers to taking the problem from the physical world and write its mathematical analog, i.e., the governing equation, boundary conditions, parameters needed, etc., specific to the problem. This is a challenge for many complex food processes. NC 1023 group collectively has the most expertise in this area of any group in the country and together they produced this compilation of resource that will save the future modeler of food processing much time and effort.

This is an ongoing effort and eventually we plan to cover most of the important food processes.

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