October 6, 2022 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. CEST

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COMSOL Day: Food Engineering

See what is possible with multiphysics simulation

There are few products that require the level of attention to detail that food products require. Apart from needing to consider obvious health details, the human olfaction and gustation senses are extremely sensitive, so even a very small change in a product's properties can be detected in its smell and taste. With the many factors impacting food products, multiphysics modeling has proven to be a valuable tool for optimization and design in food processing. COMSOL Multiphysics® allows scientists and engineers to account for phenomena such as heat transfer, fluid flow, chemical reactions, solid mechanics, and electromagnetic fields as well as other phenomena involved in food processing.

Join us for COMSOL Day: Food Engineering to learn from keynote talks and presentations about the benefits of using multiphysics modeling and simulation in the food industry. We will also demonstrate how models and simulation apps can be used across large teams of developers and even those not involved in R&D.


9:30 a.m.
10:00 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks
10:15 a.m.

COMSOL Multiphysics® has become a popular platform for modeling and simulation in the food industry due to its unique multiphysics modeling capabilities as well as its ease-of-use, which enables transparency and productivity in research and development. The insights from COMSOL Multiphysics® simulations are now being shared with a larger community of engineers and scientists — a trend driven by user-friendly simulations apps created based on multiphysics models as well as built-in model management software that enables centralized organization of models and apps.

In this session, we will discuss how simulation apps and model management software are enhancing collaboration and accelerating the pace of innovation in the food engineering industry. Specifically, we’ll cover the latest developments of the Application Builder and the Model Manager, the built-in tools in COMSOL Multiphysics® for creating simulation apps and managing model and app information, respectively. We will conclude with a look at how some of our users in the industry have used COMSOL Multiphysics®, the Application Builder, and the Model Manager in their R&D work.

10:45 a.m.
Keynote Speaker
11:05 a.m.
11:15 a.m.
Parallel Session
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Mixing

Fluid flow and mixing in the food processing industry is often restricted by the delicacy of the fluids being handled. For example, the delicacy of a fluid may limit the shear rate that can be applied. In addition, many of the fluids being processed are non-Newtonian, which introduces unpredictability when determining the power needed for pumping and mixing. The COMSOL Multiphysics® add-on products the CFD Module, Mixer Module, and Polymer Flow Module are workhorses for this industry, with ready-made interfaces for laminar and turbulent flow, rotating machinery, and a wide range of non-Newtonian fluid models. Additional multiphysics capabilities — with temperature- and composition-dependent fluid properties, conjugate heat transfer, phase change with multiphase flow, and fluid–structure interaction — make the software uniquely powerful for modeling and simulation of CFD and mixing in the food industry.

In this session, we will demonstrate how to set up and solve fluid flow and multiphysics problems using the COMSOL® software. We will also provide an overview of the software's capabilities for CFD and mixing in the food industry.

Structural Mechanics for Packaging

Food industry products are often fragile and require special care when being transported and stored. We need to consider whether or not the products need to be refrigerated or frozen and account for the fact that certain products may change over time, e.g., fruit may mature during transport. This knowledge implies that food products may change with storage conditions such as temperature, the amount of time held in transport or storage (changes are due to chemical reactions), humidity, and pressure.

COMSOL Multiphysics® has been widely used in the industry to model the structural stresses, strains, and deformation that food products, such as fruits and cheese, may be subjected to during transport and storage. The software’s unique multiphysics capabilities allow scientists and engineers to model and simulate the influence of the abovementioned storage conditions on the nonlinear mechanical properties of food products, thereby allowing for the development of improved transport and storage processes.

In this session, we will demonstrate the use of COMSOL Multiphysics® for the modeling and simulation of structural mechanics and multiphysics phenomena. We will also give you an overview of the software’s capabilities for modeling the nonlinear structural materials that are often required in food engineering.

11:45 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
Keynote Speaker
12:20 p.m.
12:30 p.m.

Tech Lunches are informal sessions where you can interact with COMSOL staff and other attendees. You will be able to discuss any modeling-related topic that you like and have the opportunity to ask COMSOL technology product managers and applications engineers your questions. Join us!

1:10 p.m.
Welcome Back: Some Useful Resources
1:15 p.m.
Keynote Speaker
1:35 p.m.
1:45 p.m.
Parallel Session
Electromagnetic Heating: Induction and Microwave

Microwave heating, inductive heating, and Joule heating are regularly used technologies for heating and cooking in the food processing industry. COMSOL Multiphysics® and its add-on products are often used to model these electromagnetic heating processes. The software’s unique capabilities to couple multiple phenomena, such as mechanical properties, phase transformation, fluid flow, and chemical reactions, has made COMSOL Multiphysics® a valued platform for modeling heating and cooking in the industry.

Join us in this session to learn more about the COMSOL® software's capabilities for modeling electromagnetic heating and multiphysics phenomena. You will also gain practical knowledge of how to build models and apps in the software from the demonstrations in this session.

Porous Media

Many of the products handled in the food industry consist of porous media. Furthermore, the materials used to protect food products during storage and transport are often porous materials. COMSOL Multiphysics® includes a wide range of features for the modeling and simulation of porous materials. This includes capabilities for modeling phenomena such as heat transfer, fluid flow, and poroelasticity as well as the general structural mechanics in porous materials. In addition, the software includes unique functionality for coupling the abovementioned phenomena in one model. This functionality can be used to optimize processes such as drying, heating, cooking, and storage.

In this session, we will give you an overview of the capabilities of COMSOL Multiphysics® for modeling fluid flow, heat transfer, chemical species transport, and structural mechanics in porous media. We will also demonstrate how to set up models and apps in the software.

2:15 p.m.
2:30 p.m.
Parallel Session
Heat Transfer in Food Processing

Modeling heat transfer allows scientists and engineers in the food industry to develop and optimize processes such as refrigeration, heating, cooking, drying, and freezing. COMSOL Multiphysics® and its add-on Heat Transfer Module include a wide range of functionality for modeling heat transfer through conduction, advection, and radiation. In addition, in combination with other add-on products, the Heat Transfer Module also includes unique functionality for modeling phase transfer, multiphase flow, electromagnetic heating, and nonisothermal reacting flow. This specialized functionality allows food industry R&D teams to develop highly accurate models that can be used to design and optimize processes involving heat transfer.

Join us in this session to learn more about the COMSOL® software's capabilities for modeling heat transfer with phase change, moisture transport, and electromagnetic heating. We will also demonstrate how to set up heat transfer models in the software.

Chemical Reactions in Food Processing

Chemical processes in the food industry often involve complex chemical kinetics with enzymatic reactions. COMSOL Multiphysics® and the Chemical Reaction Engineering Module add-on include ready-made interfaces that enable you to type in chemical equations to define complex chemical mechanisms. The software's unique capabilities for modeling conjugate heat transfer and nonisothermal reacting flow in a fully coupled fashion has made COMSOL Multiphysics® valuable to the modeling of chemical processes.

In this session, we will demonstrate how to define chemical reaction mechanisms using the Chemical Reaction interface and how to include transport phenomena, such as fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical species transport, in combination with chemical reactions in your models.

3:00 p.m.
3:15 p.m.
Parallel Session
The Application Builder, COMSOL Server™, and COMSOL Compiler™

The modeling and simulation of high-fidelity multiphysics models presents large benefits in the R&D of processes and devices in the food industry. COMSOL Multiphysics® is one of the most widely used softwares in the field due to its ease of use and ability to couple multiple physics phenomena in one model. With the Application Builder, with which modeling experts can build simulation apps for tailored purposes, the benefits of multiphysics has now reached much larger communities of scientists and engineers.

In this session, we will exemplify how simulation apps can be used in R&D and among teams not involved in the development process. We will demonstrate how to use compiled apps and COMSOL Server™ to make simulation apps available to users within your organization and to external parties.

Optimization and Uncertainty Quantification (UQ)

Human olfaction and gustation are extremely sensitive and can detect very small variations in smell and taste, making the precision and consistency of the final product a top priority in food processing. Optimizing precision and consistency can be challenging when raw ingredients in food processing are often agricultural products that display large variability in properties due to seemingly random factors such as the weather but also due to conditions during production.

Modeling and simulation in COMSOL Multiphysics® enables researchers and engineers to estimate the impact of different operating conditions and parameters on the final product in food processing. With the new Uncertainty Quantification Module add-on, they can now also detect the most important parameters in a process, the product's sensitivity to these parameters, and how the input property distribution (i.e., distribution of parameter values) in an ingredient can result in a corresponding distribution of properties in the product.

Join us in this session where we will give you an overview the Uncertainty Quantification Module’s capabilities. We will also demonstrate the use of the software by setting up a tutorial example.

3:45 p.m.
4:00 p.m.
Concluding Remarks

COMSOL Speakers

Daniele Panfiglio
Managing Director, Italy

Daniele Panfiglio has been with COMSOL since 2009 and currently works as the managing director of the Italian office. He received his degree in material science engineering at the University of Brescia. Before joining COMSOL, he worked in the plastics injection molding simulation field.

Lara Baldessari
Sales Manager

Lara Baldessari joined COMSOL in 2011 as a customer sales representative and is currently sales manager for the Italian office. She received her MS degree in computer science engineering at the University of Brescia. Previously, she worked as a consultant and technical sales specialist in the enterprise software industry.

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COMSOL Day Details

Local Start Time:
October 6, 2022 | 10:00 a.m. CEST (UTC+02:00)
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Invited Speakers

Thijs Defraeye EMPA, Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles

Thijs Defraeye received his PhD in 2011 from KU Leuven. Since 2014 he has worked for Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, and he is currently a group leader at the Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He focuses on food technology, applying computational methods and multiparameter sensing to study fresh food preservation by refrigeration and minimal processing by dehydration. The mission of his team is to better understand how food quality is lost along the supply chain and during food processing in order to optimize these processes and help save food.

Francesco Marra University of Salerno (Italy)

Francesco Marra has a PhD in chemical engineering and is an associate professor of chemical and food engineering for the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Salerno, located in Italy. His research focuses on the use of digital tools, based on transport phenomena modeling in a multiphysics context, as design tools for innovative food processes and products. He has authored over 100 scientific works, which have been published in international journals and books and presented at international conferences. A member of the editorial boards for the Journal of Food Engineering and the Journal of Food Process Engineering, he served as editor for a special issue, ”Virtualization of Processes in Food Engineering”, for the former. He is also a member of the executive committee for the Society of Food Engineering (SoFE).