Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based analysis of the aerodynamic and thermodynamic performances of package designs during cooling of stacked pomegranates

The demand for pomegranate fruit is increasing due to the extensive knowledge acquired on the health benefits of pomegranate and the increased public awareness about functional food. Following this, there has been an increased interest in research to improve storability. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed, validated and used to analyse the cooling characteristics of two different package designs used for the postharvest handling of pomegranate fruit. The model incorporated the geometries of the fruits, packaging box, tray and plastic liner. A thin layer of plastic material with conservative interface heat flux was used to model the liners. The accuracy of the model to predict the airflow and temperature distributions were validated against experimental data. The model predicted the airflow through the stacks and cooling rates within experimental error. The stack design markedly affected the airflow profile, rate and uniformity of cooling. The cooling rate of the two package designs differed by 30% and the plastic lining increased the average 7/8th cooling times significantly. The profile of the high and low temperature regions depended considerably on the packaging box design.
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Southern Africa
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