Variability modeling in drying


Type. Empa Internal

Funding. This PhD project is funded by Empa (internal).

Duration. 3 years (2022-2024). 

Collaborations. This project is a collaboration between the Empa Lab of Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles and ATB Potsdam.

Contact. Thijs Defraeye (principal investigator).

Staff. Jörg Schemminger (PhD student)

Project background

Convective drying of fruits and vegetables is a widely used preservation method and serves to reduce food waste, to make them available off-season, and to reduce weight-related transport costs. However, the high energy consumption and impact of the process set-up and process settings on quality are challenges that need to be addressed from a sustainability and consumer perspective. It is known that the necessary optimizations can be carried out by means of physics-based simulation – especially if measurement data allow a comparison with reality, as in the case of a digital twin. However, the heterogeneity of raw materials remains a challenge: no two particles inside the dryer are the same. Here we show how Monte Carlo simulations can be used to account for natural variability by considering process, product, and design parameters stochastically instead of deterministically, thus enabling statements to be made not only about drying behavior but also about the distribution of the drying materials before, during and after the drying process.



Jörg Schemminger presented the modeling approach at the 2023 COMSOL conference in Munich.

June 2023. Presentation on the ICEF14 conference. Title: A hybrid digital shadow to investigate the drying of carrot slices.




Thijs Defraeye

Group Leader SimBioSys


PhD Student

Jörg Schemminger