Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and simulation tools of fluid flow processes have appeared from the development stage and become a robust design tools nowadays. The CFD tools offer a cost-effective way of carrying out equipment and process design and optimization and reducing equipment modification and scale-up risk. CFD modeling has been gaining attraction from the agri-food industry in recent years. This article reviews various CFD applications to improve crop farming systems such as soil tillage, sprayers, harvesting, machinery, and greenhouses.
Historically agriculture has covered the expansion of the human population by improving its productivity. In the former century, most of this increased productivity resulted from the genetic improvement of crops and the use of chemicals and machinery. In the subsequent years, agriculture is expected to produce food and raw material, maintain the landscape, and reduce Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere. It is predicted that the new increase in productivity in the future can result from information and Communication Technology use in agriculture.
How to Improve the Performance of Agriculture in CFD Simulation?
Although CFD application in the food industry will assist in understanding the dynamics and physics of a food processing procedure and thus aid in the optimization and design of existing and new processing equipment, constrictions are necessary for faster, easier, and less expensive CFD techniques. In the new era, the application of CFD in the food industry has reached a critical juncture since it is becoming more and more apparent that the future growth in CFD will be qualitative, quantitative, and effective in work.
Numerous food processing operations such as chilling, drying, freezing, pasteurization, and sterilization rely on fluid flow. The transfer of CFD approaches to the food industry has provided food engineers with new insight and understanding of the likely performance of food equipment at the design stage and confidence in the quality or safety of food products. Equipment such as ovens, heat exchangers, refrigerated display cabinets, and spray dryers has been improved by applying CFD techniques to understand their operation and design process. CFD has become a powerful tool for developing, troubleshooting, and optimizing food processes.
CFD for Optimizing the Drying Systems
Drying is one of the most common methods of preserving food and involves a complex combination of transport phenomena such as heat transfer and moisture removal from a food substrate. This systems optimization is still sought nowadays; therefore, a complete understanding of these phenomena can help improve this process and the product quality.
Drying simulations showed that fruit dryness depended on its position within the drier. CFD determined pressure profiles and air velocities showed that the leading cause of the variations in drying rates and moisture contents was the lack of spatial homogeneity of air velocity.
CFD has also been used to probe the performance and the design of spray dryers in the food industry. Spray dryers produce foodstuffs such as milk and coffee powder. However, the scheme of spray dryers for the food industry is complicated because the performance of spray dryers is severely influenced by the air and spray flow patterns inside the dryers. Therefore, there is considerable scope for applying CFD simulation, including optimum design of spray dryers and solutions for operational problems.
CFD for Improving the Sterilization Procedure
It is known that consumer demand for food products focuses on safety, quality, and cost. Therefore, it is of great necessity to enhance quality and assure the safety of the food supply. Sterilization is an essential technique for food storage and preservation. CFD can be used to study both temperature distribution and flow pattern of food in the process of sterilization to optimize the quality of food products. Thermal processing remains the most effective sterilization technique, resulting in microbial inactivation, but in the meantime, quality loss and flavor development. Excessive heating will affect food quality and its nourishing properties.
In recent years, food pouches have been introduced to the market; therefore, little or no study has been executed on the sterilization of food in pouches. CFD code was used to simulate the transient temperature, velocity profiles, and the shape of the slowest heating zone in the sterilization of pouches.
CFD in Case of Food Refrigeration
The consumption of frozen foods has increased continually in the past years because frozen foods have demonstrated good food quality and safety records. Refrigeration can slow down bacterial growth and preserve food.
Since refrigerated foods require strict temperature control, the design of equipment or stores for refrigerated foods is crucial. With the utilization of CFD, designers can examine the whole range of modifications before manufacturing and designing at a minimal cost and in a short time.
CFD in Improving Heat Exchanger Devices
A Heat Exchanger is a systematic device constructed for the successful heat transfer between two fluids of non-identical temperatures. The media might be separated through a solid wall to intercept mixing or be in direct contact. Heat exchangers are fully used in the food processing industry, dairy industry, biochemical processing, chemical plants, and petroleum plants, to name a few. They are ubiquitous in the bioprocess industry, from high-temperature pasteurization to low-temperature freezing. Heat exchangers have long been a required tool for pasteurization, sterilization, and other food processing needs. And while the technology is fully-fledged, there’s still enough innovation occurring.
There are mainly three heat exchangers: shell, tube, and plate exchangers. However, plate exchangers tend to be preferred in the food processing industry. CFD has been used to simulate and study the flow and temperature distribution of the fluid to predict and control food quality during the heating process.
It is necessary to maintain cleanliness and ventilation in the food processing industry. Designers have used CFD to simulate the airflow within a cleanroom. The particle tracking techniques can predict the movement of air and other particulate matter in the cleanroom.
The design of suitable ventilation equipment, the air supply, and extraction duct position, and the optimal location of working areas and machines can benefit from using the CFD. Applying CFD to control cleanroom conditions will provide a good working environment and enhance sanitary in the food processing industry.
The MR-CFD team conducted numerous outsourced simulation projects for industrial and research agriculture and food engineering applications. With several years of experience simulating various problems in various CFD fields using ANSYS Fluent software, the MR-CFD team is ready to offer extensive services of simulation configurations. For instance, some of the projects freelanced by MR-CFD that have industrial applications include the simulation of the Agricultural Drone Sprayer, which shows how drone designers can exploit CFD to carry out the best design for their vehicles industry.
Drones are now recognized tools in the agriculture industry, enhancing the productivity of farms with timely aerial data. But aside from meeting vital insights on crop health and enabling the production of detailed maps, flying robots are taking a vibrant role in day-to-day actions. Spraying drones are being used for the following applications:
- Seeds, and more.
The other example of a CFD project that MR-CFD has simulated successfully is the investigation of Watering the Lawns. In this project, MR-CFD experts simulated the injected water jet from the sprinkler nozzle to the domain and obtained the jet’s length.
One of the other great applications of CFD in the food industry is its capability to simulate phase changes. For example, in another project carried out by the MR-CFD team, they tried to remove moisture from the grain called drying. The seed drying process should reduce the moisture content of the seeds to a safe moisture level to maintain their viability and stability during storage; otherwise, the seeds may spoil quickly due to mold growth, heating, and increased microbial activity.
MR-CFD, an Expert in the Field of Agriculture & Food Simulations
With several years of experience in simulating various problems in different CFD fields using ANSYS Fluent software, the MR-CFD Company is ready to offer extensive modeling, meshing, and simulation services. Our simulation Services for Agriculture & Food simulations are categorized as follows:
- Storage systems and facilities
- Wastewater recycling
- Fans, ventilators, ducts, nozzles, and pumps
- Drying, heating, cooling, phase changes, etc.
- Ovens, heat exchangers, refrigerated display cabinets, etc.
You may find the related products to the Agricultural & Food simulation category in Training Shop.
Our services are not limited to the mentioned subjects, and the MR-CFD is ready to undertake different and challenging projects in the Agricultural & Food Engineering modeling field ordered by our customers. We even accept carrying out CFD simulation for any abstract or concept design you have in your mind to turn them into reality and even help you reach the best design for what you may have imagined. You can benefit from MR-CFD expert consultation for free and then order your project to be simulated and trained.
By outsourcing your project to the MR-CFD as a CFD simulation freelancer, you will not only receive the related project’s resource files (Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, …), but also you will be provided with an extensive tutorial video demonstrating how you can create the geometry, mesh, and define the needed settings(pre-processing, processing and post-processing) in the ANSYS Fluent software all by yourself. Additionally, post-technical support is available to clarify issues and ambiguities.