A multiphysics approach to optimize modified atmos.. (MULTIMAP)
A multiphysics approach to optimize modified atmospheres for packaging of respiring food products
Start date: Jul 1, 2013,
End date: Jun 30, 2016
The design of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for fruit and vegetables is a complex task that requires the understanding of the dynamic interactions occurring between product and package. Current mathematical models only cover gases and vapors such as O2, CO2 and H2O, but not others like ethylene or flavors which are relevant for product acceptance. In addition, these models have only been focused on petroleum-based materials while bio-based materials are in the market and more bio-based materials are being developed. Therefore, multiMAP research interests are grouped into the following themes:1) Novel materials: The suitability of bio-based and biodegradable materials, nanocomposites and foamed materials for MAP applications will be investigated. Polylactic acid (PLA) and protein-based films will be evaluated as examples of bio-based films that are commercially available and in a research state, respectively. Their permeability will be investigated under current supply chain temperature and relative humidity conditions. The same studies will be performed using improved biodegradable materials such bio-based nanocomposites, foamed materials and microperforated films.2) Modelling: Modified atmosphere packaging systems will be modelled utilizing a computational fluid dynamics and multiphysics approach. A space-time dependent mathematical model will be developed to predict gases concentrations in continuous and microperforated films. Computational fluid dynamics and multiphysics models will be applied to integrate both diffusive and convective mass transfer phenomena, and to investigate not studied factors.3) Validation: Development and optimization of biodegradable packaging for fruits and vegetables. Selected novel materials will be utilized for the packaging of different fruits and vegetables. The packages will be evaluated for gas and vapour compositions over time. Produce will be evaluated through physico-chemical and sensory analyses over time.
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