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Dry-peeling of Tomato by Infrared Radiative Heating: Part I. Model Development

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Infrared (IR) dry-peeling of tomatoes has emerged as a nonchemical alternative to conventional peeling methods using hot lye or steam. Successful peel separation induced by IR radiation requires the delivery of a sufficient amount of thermal energy onto the tomato surface in a very short duration. The objective of this study was to understand the transient heat transfer phenomena during IR dry-peeling by developing a computer simulation model. Modeled tomatoes with realistic shapes and different sizes were employed to predict the temperature distributions on their surface and interior during a typical 60 s IR heating. IR radiation was postulated as a mathematically gray-diffuse radiation problem based on the enclosure theory. Radiation heat transfer model combining heat conduction and convection was solved numerically in COMSOL by using a finite element scheme. Changes of tomato thermal properties and phase change of water inside tomato tissues due to temperature increase were considered in the model to improve the prediction accuracy. The developed model can further be used to study the effects of various engineering parameters on IR heating performance relevant to tomato peeling quality and efficiency. Numerical modeling of the heat transfer mechanism provides in-depth understanding of the rapid surface heating characteristics of IR in the tomato dry-peeling process.

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Dr. Zhengjun Xue is acknowledged for his advice and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Zhongli Pan.

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Li, X., Pan, Z. Dry-peeling of Tomato by Infrared Radiative Heating: Part I. Model Development. Food Bioprocess Technol 7, 1996–2004 (2014).

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