with the collaboration of Iranian Society of Mechanical Engineers (ISME)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Edith Cowan University, WA 6027, Australia

3 Agricultural Engineering Research Department, Khorasan Razavi Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Mashhad, Iran


Drying is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. To increase the efficiency of heat and mass transfer while maintaining product quality, the study of the drying process is crucial scientifically and meticulously. It is possible to conduct experimental tests, trial and error, in the drying process. However, this approach consumes time and cost, with a significant amount of energy resources. By harnessing available software and leveraging technological advancement to develop a general model for drying food under varying initial conditions, the drying process can be significantly optimized.
Materials and Methods
This study was conducted with the aim of simulating heat and mass transfer during Refractance window drying for aloe vera gel. Comsol Multiphysics version 5.6 is a three-dimensional model used to solve heat and mass transfer equations. For this purpose, the differential equations of heat and mass transfer were solved simultaneously and interdependently. The above model considered various initial conditions: water temperature of 60, 70, 80, and 90℃, and aloe vera gel thickness of 5 and 10 mm. The initial humidity and temperature of the aloe vera is uniform. The initial temperature is 4℃ and the initial humidity of the fresh aloe vera sample is 110 gwater/gdry matter. Heat is supplied only by hot water from the bottom surface of the product.
Results and Discussion
The drying time was needed to reduce the moisture content of aloe vera gel from 110 to 0.1 gwater/gdry matter during Refractance window drying. Aloe vera gel with a thickness of 5 mm dried in 120, 100, 70, and 50 minutes at water temperatures of 60, 70, 80, and 90℃, respectively. For a 10 mm thick layer of aloe vera gel, the drying time was 240, 190, 150, and 120 minutes, for water temperatures of 60 to 90℃, respectively. These results demonstrate the importance of both the water temperature and thickness on the drying time. Furthermore, the drying rate of aloe vera gel increased as the water temperature increased from 60 to 90℃, the drying rates were 0.915, 1.099, 1.57, and 2.198 gwater/min for 5 mm thickness and 0.457, 0.578, 0.732, and 0.915 gwater/min for 10 mm thick layer of aloe vera gel, respectively.
Based on the simulation results, the optimal model is with a water temperature of 90℃ and an aloe vera gel thickness of 5 mm. Overall, the modeling results are consistent with the results of experimental data.


Main Subjects

©2023 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

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