Applying computational fluid dynamics in the development of smart ripening rooms for traditional cheeses

Nuno Alvarenga, João Martins, José Caeiro, João Garcia, João Pássaro, Luis Coelho, Maria Teresa Santos, Célia Lampreia, António Martins, João Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Traditional ewe’s cheese producers face certain challenges caused by fluctuating environmental parameters inside the ripening room, which lead to lack of homogeneity in the final product. The present research discusses the application of computer fluid dynamics for simulating the distribution of environmental parameters, predicting the airflow pattern, and identifying critical areas where such parameters could cause reduced cheese quality. A new monitoring system was developed including presence sensors, temperature and humidity dataloggers, pneumatic actuators, microcontrollers, and microcomputers connected remotely for control, data visualization, and processing. The validation of the computer simulation and monitoring system was made with a batch of 40 ewe’s cheeses distributed in three different zones inside a prototype ripening room and ripened for 35 days. At 35 days, a physical, chemical, and microbiological characterization of cheeses was made for evaluation of the influence of environmental conditions on cheese quality. The comparison between simulated and local measurements showed close agreement, especially concerning air velocity inside the stacks of cheese. The results of Pearson’s correlation analysis and PCA concluded that temperature affected the appearance of the rind, hardness, number and area occupied by holes. Humidity affected aw and mFeret. Air velocity affected pH and the circularity of gas holes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1716
JournalFoods
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Cheese ripening
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Industry 4.0
  • Internet of things

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