Food and agriculture industries
Food and agriculture industries are essential for the development of any country. Because of the development of this industry, food, fuel, fiber, and other things are provided to us to increase the population. And one of the components of the strength and progress of any country is its population and workforce. In addition, the industry creates jobs and contributes to the economy through exports. The history of this industry dates back to ancient times when humans turned to agriculture to provide for their families. Since the dawn of civilization, humans have relied on this industry to ensure they have enough food to survive. Over time, these industries have evolved and adapted to the changing needs of society.
Today, due to the increase in the population of our planet, the food and agriculture industries have become more important than ever. We need these industries to produce enough food for everyone, taking into account the environmental sustainability of their activities. In addition, technological advances have enabled us to significantly increase our productivity in these industries, which has increased their importance in our society. Food and agriculture are the economic backbones of any country.
Today, due to the population of our planet, the importance of these industries has dramatically increased compared to previous generations. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the demand for agricultural products worldwide. For this reason, any science that can help us to optimize this industry and increase its efficiency is of great importance to us. This industry has an enormous scope. And if we can raise even a small amount of the efficiency of this industry to increase food products, we can economically save a lot of money.
Today, CFD is a well-known tool in the agricultural and food industries. And its use is expanding day by day. The importance of these industries has caused a severe will to govern the quantitative and qualitative development of agricultural and food products.
CFD can be considered the fastest and cheapest method of studying and evaluating systems related to fluids in the agricultural and food industries. In this article, some CFD applications have been introduced in this industry.
CFD analysis in agriculture
The capabilities of CFD in simulating almost all flow regimes, including turbulent, multiphase, and rotational flows, heat transfer, chemical reaction, phase change (melting and freezing), and Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid flows, make it a tool. It has become efficient, fast, cheap, and reliable to a large extent to enable the development of the food industry with minimal cost in trial and error and to make laboratory models. The importance of health, durability, taste, smell and many other things in food production is undeniable. Therefore, accurate and complete simulation of the environment and production processing process is the ultimate scientific demand of engineers in this field.
CFD can help improve the efficiency of food production processes and provide insight into how airflow affects crop growth and performance. It can also be used to predict how changes in environmental conditions will affect crop production. CFD can also be used to optimize irrigation systems and reduce water consumption. Using CFD, food and agriculture companies can reduce costs, increase yields and create more sustainable practices. The most critical applications of CFD are introduced below.
– Simulating, studying, and checking the performance of air conditioning systems of agricultural buildings such as sheds, cold stores, poultry farms, cattle farms, etc.
– Simulating the release of dust particles, water droplets, pollen, and spores in different geographical conditions
– Simulating the release of odors and gases emitted from livestock farms and centers for growing agricultural products, such as mushroom growing centers
– Simulation of tanks and mixers of chemical fertilizers for better and more optimal mixing
– Simulation of the water supply system for plants in cement canals
– Simulating water supply in earthen channels, predicting the amount of water loss from these channels, and designing the best mode.
– Simulating drip and rain irrigation to achieve the optimal arrangement of irrigation nozzles to minimize water consumption.
– Simulating, studying, and checking the performance of agricultural equipment such as fans, aerators, valves, channels, nozzles, pumps, etc.
– Assisting in the design and development of agricultural machinery
– Simulating, studying, and checking the performance of energy production systems
– Simulating the performance of agricultural machines such as dryers, etc., in different working conditions
– Simulation of flow with radiant heat transfer, displacement, and conduction to determine air circulation and proper ventilation in greenhouses
Clean and pure air is one of the primary needs of the agricultural sector. CFD can be used to achieve this important issue. By simulating and optimizing the air in the greenhouse environment, the growth of plants can be increased. CFD can be used to simulate, solve the flow field, calculate velocity, and predict wall shear stress inside pipes, spray balls, and tanks during washing to help improve the cleaning of food processing tanks.
It is also possible to improve the health of the environment, devices, and equipment with the help of CFD and by simulating the circulation of turbulent flow in them and predicting places with low speed and shear stress for cleaning. On the other hand, it is possible to optimize heat exchangers by simulating, studying the flow, and knowing the quality of proper temperature distribution during aseptic processing to preserve taste and nutritional value, along with reducing energy consumption in heating during various processes. Using CFD, it is possible to model the fluid flow around the obstacles and inside the holes, understand the temperature distribution, and control it. Of course, it also reduces the unwanted phenomena caused by the flow resistance, such as lift.
Drying is a standard process in food processing. The main point in this process is the strong dependence of the drying speed on the airflow and its speed. Therefore, it is obvious that having flow field information such as speed, pressure, and amount of air passing through dryers helps estimate their efficiency and performance. In laboratory methods, the measurement of air velocity in drying tanks is not without flaws because it is necessary to use multiple sensors in different locations of the tanks, which is not only expensive but also causes the flow pattern inside the tank to be confused. As a result, errors occur in relation to the state. Instead, CFD is an excellent, low-cost, fast, comprehensive method that includes all the details. Since the drying conditions of food, such as grains, oilseeds, vegetables, etc., are different. Therefore we see different regimes of single-phase and two-phase flows with heat transfer; of course, in all of them, the uniformity of the airflow profile and the reduction of fuel consumption is always from It is very important.
Another application of CFD is to study and check the performance of spray dryers. Examining the flow pattern, speed, temperature, pressure, and humidity, simulating the movement path of drying particles such as grains and droplets along with heat and mass transfer and in the form of multi-phase flows, especially for Co-Current Spray Dryers, are facilities that CFD is available to engineers and professionals.
Pasteurization and Sterilization
Pasteurization is a vital process to inactivate milk spoilage organisms and enzymes. Simulating and predicting the temperature distribution pattern (using CFD) inside the canned milk during the heat treatment process is very helpful in gaining proper insight into the effectiveness of heat treatment in deactivating milk spoilage. Also, the flow of Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquid food can be easily modeled using CFD. For example, the simulation of non-Newtonian fluid flow and temperature distribution in pasteurizing runny eggs is one such application.
The heat treatment process is the primary sterilization technique, which is very important in microbial inactivation, quality, and preserving food’s value and natural taste. Using CFD, it is possible to simulate the sterilization process for canned and packaged liquid and solid food. Modeling the oxygen/ozone sterilization process for fruits and vegetables or pressure sterilization modeling for fresh juices and cooked hams is one of the most important CFD applications in food sterilization.
In the food industry, mixing operations involve all three states of matter, i.e., solid, liquid, and gas. In any case, mixing can be considered as one of the complex processes in simulation because it is dominated by (usually) non-Newtonian, turbulent, multiphase flow, and heat transfer. As a powerful tool, CFD can easily simulate such flows in mixers. Using CFD, it is possible to study the performance of mixer impellers and find the optimal shape and angle to increase their efficiency and reduce their energy consumption. Flow simulation in heavy mixers containing heavy and bulky non-Newtonian fluids (mixing devices like bread dough) is one of the exciting challenges of CFD.
Baking is a standard process mainly in grain-based food products such as bread, biscuits, etc. Of course, these operations are also used for canning non-edible materials such as starch, gluten, etc. Due to criteria such as gelatinization, enzymatic reactions, and the quality of food, including bread, proper distribution of temperatures in the ovens and baking ovens of these products is very important. Therefore, simulating, solving the flow field, and calculating temperature, pressure, heat flux, velocity, and temperature distribution in baking ovens are important applications of CFD in the baking process.
Investigating the effects of heater placement on the uniformity of temperature distribution on food items, studying the air circulation in ovens and ovens, evaluating their performance in different working conditions and minimizing trial and error, and making prototypes along with reducing design costs are among other CFD applications in design and the development of food cooking devices.