Design of Packaging Vents for Cooling Fresh Horticultural Produce
This review focuses on the design of vents in packages used for handling horticulture produce. The studies on vent designs that are conducted to obtain fundamental understanding of the mechanisms by which different parameters affect the rate and homogeneity of the airflow and the cooling process are presented. Ventilated packages should be designed in such a way that they can provide a uniform airflow distribution and consequently uniform produce cooling. Total opening area and opening size and position show a significant effect on pressure drop, air distribution uniformity and cooling efficiency. Recent advances in measurement and mathematical modelling techniques have provided powerful tools to develop detailed investigations of local airflow rate and heat and mass transfer processes within complex packaging structures. The complexity of the physical structure of the packed systems and the biological variability of the produce make both experimental and model-based studies of transport processes challenging. In many of the available mathematical models, the packed structure is assumed as a porous medium; the limitations of the porous media approach are evident during vented package design studies principally when the container-to-produce dimension ratio is below a certain value. The complex and chaotic structure within horticultural produce ventilated packages during a forced-air precooling process complicates the numerical study of energy and mass transfer considering each individual produce. Future research efforts should be directed to detailed models of the vented package, the complex produce stacking within the package, as well as their interaction with adjacent produce, stacks and surrounding environment. For the validation of the numerical models, the development of better experimental techniques taking into account the complex packaging system is also very important. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.