Simulation and Analysis of Fluid Dynamic Behaviour of Foods during Filling Processes

Eleonora Bottani 1 , Roberto Rizzo 2  and Giuseppe Vignali 3
  • 1 University of Parma, Department of Industrial Engineering, Parma (Italy)
  • 2 University of Parma (Italy)
  • 3 University of Parma (Italy)

This research presents a model describing the behaviour of a non-Newtonian shear-thinning fluid during aseptic filling processes, in order to determine the influence of the behaviour of fluids on the performance of filling valves in aseptic beverage plants, mainly in terms of the time required to perform the filling process. The ultimate aim of the study is to explore the possibility of improving the accuracy of industrial filling processes, so as to be able to utilise them with high viscosity fluids.The numerical model, exploiting the Finite Elements Method (FEM), was designed using the commercial software Comsol Multiphysics, and validated by comparing the steady state predictions with outcomes of filling experiments performed in industrial laboratories. Hence, subsequent numerical simulations were performed to investigate the transition from laminar to turbulent flow for shear-thinning fluids under different pressure conditions, in 3D time-dependent configurations. Results of the simulations, performed on a low fat yoghurt, show that laminar flow subsists within the whole filling system when the Metzner-Reed Reynolds number at the inlet section of the valve is lower than approx 444.

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