Consumer habits have changed remarkably over the past decade, leading to a massive increase in the ready food market. The technology of reheating frozen food in microwave ovens has therefore come under increasing scrutiny. Uniform heat distribution within the oven and throughout the food itself is therefore an issue of major interest to convenience food producers, appliance manufacturers and food customers alike.
Many variables to control
Several elements affect how food is heated in a microwave oven – from the shape of the packaging to the performance of the oven itself. In particular, multi-component foods such as those that make up ready meals often heat unevenly; this may cause both sensorial and microbiological problems.
“We developed product simulation software to predict microwave heating uniformity,” explains Birgitta Waeppling-Raaholt, specialist in electromagnetics and microwave processing at the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK), which led the project. “This makes it possible to design the make-up of the food product – geometry, placement of different food components, packaging and so on – much faster and reduces experimental work.”
The MICRODEFROST MODEL software sets out to model how food components are defrosted and heated by microwaves, and how the heat is transferred – including conduction through the different components. Other SIK-developed software then controls heat distribution to make it more uniform. SIK software was used to establish what the important parameters were, and then helped to optimise their values.
As a result of this EUREKA project, it is now possible for convenience food manufacturers to introduce new convenience products more quickly for both the frozen and chilled product sectors. It also provides an important tool to enable microwave manufacturers to optimise their oven designs.
The MICRODEFROSTMODEL project was started by SIK, which had carried out earlier work on chilled food reheating. It sought help from EUREKA to find funding and partners. “We had worked in similar projects with EUREKA before,” says Raaholt. “We find that EUREKA is very open-minded.”
The Swedish and Polish partners in the four-year MICRODEFROSTMODEL project brought together appliance manufacturers, frozen food producers, and electromagnetics and radioelectronics modelling and software experts to devise a highly effective product development tool that is a world first. The resulting product development tool is already being offered to food companies to strengthen the competitiveness of the European ready food industry by improving end quality and speeding time to market. Potential spin-offs for this project include controlled pasteurisation of potentially infected products through more uniform heat treatment.
Catherine Shiels | alfa
Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Life Sciences
23.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding