, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 482-495

A Multiphase Pore Scale Network Model of Gas Exchange in Apple Fruit

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A multiphase pore scale network model was developed to describe mass transfer in apple fruit. The 3D microscale geometry of the tissue was reconstructed from synchrotron radiation tomography images. Individual cells and pores were identified using a watershed segmentation procedure on a Euclidean distance map of the tissue microstructure. Further morphological characteristics of each individual pore, including its volume, connections to the neighbors and the connected area between the pore and its neighbors, were determined. The tissue was represented by a network of nodes (simplified individual pores and cells) that were interconnected by tubes. The transport of the respiratory gases O2 and CO2 between two nodes was modelled using diffusion laws and irreversible thermodynamics, while respiration was taken into account in the individual cellular nodes. A numerical procedure was applied to simulate the gas transport within the discrete network and to compute the local diffusivities of the links in the network. The predicted overall gas diffusivities compared well to experimental data and results computed from a microscale continuum model, thereby validating the pore scale network model. This approach is a computationally attractive alternative to a continuum multiphase approach for modelling gas transport in fruit.