Assessing the potential of using chaotic advection flow for thermal food processing in heating tubes

Shuai Tian, Mostafa Barigou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)


Most food materials tend to be viscous and in general flow in the laminar regime. In continuous food sterilisation, the non-uniform velocity profile which characterises viscous flow coupled with a non-uniform temperature distribution result in a wide variation of product sterility and nutritional quality across the tube. The challenge is to be able to sterilise the fastest parts in the core region of the tube without over-processing too much the slowest parts near the wall. Chaotic advection is an alternative to turbulence, and uses the stretching and folding property of chaotic flows to promote fluid mixing at low Reynolds numbers. The use of inline static mixers or vortex generators to promote radial mixing and, thus, heat transfer and temperature uniformity, generates large pressure drops but more importantly these devices are unhygienic. We use a validated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model to show that mechanical vibration is an effective source of chaotic advection. The superimposition of a transverse harmonic motion on the flow of a single-phase viscous fluid in a heating tube, leads to large improvements in thermal processing uniformity and efficiency compared with a conventional process with or without an inline static mixer fitted. Results show that high levels of sterility, processing uniformity and product quality can be achieved in relatively short heating tubes, thus, potentially obviating the need for a holding stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Food Engineering
Early online date17 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • CFD
  • Chaotic advection
  • Continuous sterilisation
  • Food quality
  • Viscous flow
  • Vibration
  • Food sterility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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