In this paper, we describe a model for pore formation in food materials during drying. As a proxy for fruits and vegetables, we take a spherical hydrogel, with a stiff elastic skin, and a central cavity filled with air and water vapour. The model describes moisture transport coupled to large deformation mechanics. Both stress and chemical potential are derived from a free energy functional, following the framework developed by Suo and coworkers. We have compared Finite Volume and Finite Element implementations and analytical solutions with each other, and we show that they render similar solutions. The Finite Element solver has a larger range of numerical stability than the Finite Volume solver, and the analytical solution also has a limited range of validity. Since the Finite Element solver operates using the mathematically intricate weak form, we introduce the method in a tutorial manner for food scientists. Subsequently, we have explored the physics of the pore formation problem further with the Finite Element solver. We show that the presence of an elastic skin is a prerequisite for the growth of the central cavity. The elastic skin must have an elastic modulus of at least 10 times that of the hydrogel. An initial pore with 10% of the size of the gel can grow to 5 times its initial size. Such an increase in porosity has been reported in the literature on drying of vegetables, if a dense hard skin is formed, known as case hardening. We discuss that models as presented in this paper, where moisture transport is strongly coupled to large deformation mechanics, are required if one wants to describe pore/structure formation during drying and intensive heating (as baking and frying) of food materials from first principles.

van der Sman, R.G.M., Curatolo, M., Teresi, L. (2024). Analytical and numerical solutions of pore formation in elastic food materials during dehydration. CURRENT RESEARCH IN FOOD SCIENCE, 8 [10.1016/j.crfs.2024.100762].

### Analytical and numerical solutions of pore formation in elastic food materials during dehydration

#### Abstract

In this paper, we describe a model for pore formation in food materials during drying. As a proxy for fruits and vegetables, we take a spherical hydrogel, with a stiff elastic skin, and a central cavity filled with air and water vapour. The model describes moisture transport coupled to large deformation mechanics. Both stress and chemical potential are derived from a free energy functional, following the framework developed by Suo and coworkers. We have compared Finite Volume and Finite Element implementations and analytical solutions with each other, and we show that they render similar solutions. The Finite Element solver has a larger range of numerical stability than the Finite Volume solver, and the analytical solution also has a limited range of validity. Since the Finite Element solver operates using the mathematically intricate weak form, we introduce the method in a tutorial manner for food scientists. Subsequently, we have explored the physics of the pore formation problem further with the Finite Element solver. We show that the presence of an elastic skin is a prerequisite for the growth of the central cavity. The elastic skin must have an elastic modulus of at least 10 times that of the hydrogel. An initial pore with 10% of the size of the gel can grow to 5 times its initial size. Such an increase in porosity has been reported in the literature on drying of vegetables, if a dense hard skin is formed, known as case hardening. We discuss that models as presented in this paper, where moisture transport is strongly coupled to large deformation mechanics, are required if one wants to describe pore/structure formation during drying and intensive heating (as baking and frying) of food materials from first principles.
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2024
van der Sman, R.G.M., Curatolo, M., Teresi, L. (2024). Analytical and numerical solutions of pore formation in elastic food materials during dehydration. CURRENT RESEARCH IN FOOD SCIENCE, 8 [10.1016/j.crfs.2024.100762].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: `https://hdl.handle.net/11590/482107`
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