Simulation of plant cell shrinkage during drying – A SPH–DEM approach

H. C. P. Karunasena, R. J. Brown, W. Senadeera, Y. T. Gu
Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements
dem, Drying, Meshfree methods, Numerical modeling, Plant cells, SPH

Plant based dried food products are popular commodities in global market where much research is focused to improve the products and processing techniques. In this regard, numerical modeling is highly applicable and in this work, a coupled meshfree particle-based two-dimensional (2-D) model was developed to simulate microscale deformations of plant cells during drying. Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) was used to model the viscous cell protoplasm (cell fluid) by approximating it to an incompressible Newtonian fluid. The visco-elastic characteristic of the cell wall was approximated to a Neo-Hookean solid material augmented with a viscous term and modeled with a Discrete Element Method (DEM). Compared to a previous work [44], this study proposes three model improvements: linearly decreasing positive cell turgor pressure during drying, cell wall contraction forces and cell wall drying. The improvements made the model more comparable with experimental findings on dried cell morphology and geometric properties such as cell area, diameter, perimeter, roundness, elongation and compactness. This single cell model could be used as a building block for advanced tissue models which are highly applicable for product and process optimizations in Food Engineering.

Keywords: SPH, Meshfree methods, DEM, Plant cells, Numerical modeling, Drying

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