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Concept development for pilot/industrial scale semi-continuous or continuous HP reactor: development of product & process concepts

Concept development for pilot/industrial scale semi-continuous or continuous HP reactor: development of product & process concepts: feasibility study of batch rectangular HP reactor: the scope of the work was to make feasibility study of development of high-pressure reactor with size and geometry suitable for processing rectangular fish blocks. The requirements for industrial reactor for high-pressure thawing of fish blocks were agreed during the 3rd full meeting in Helsinki in March 2004.

The concept was formulated and shaping of reactor was conducted in collaboration with Warsaw University of Technology, as a part of master's thesis (M.Mikolajczyk, “Structure and strength analysis of reactor for high-pressure thawing”, WUT, 2005). The reactor was designed in CATIA v5 CAD system. It consists of high-pressure chamber, frame and two closures. The chamber of outer diameter of about 1 meter is composed of a sleeve retained by a pack of circular plates, made of high strength steel. In the sleeve four Copper filling inserts, and liner made of Stainless Steel, are placed. The filling inserts and the liner define inner geometry of the chamber. The frame consist of multilayer casing (set of thin steel sheets) and two half-rollers. Strength analysis of the high-pressure reactor was made using ANSYS FEM code. Modeling was made separately for the frame and for the high-pressure chamber. Four FEM models with various inner geometry of the chamber (from square to circular) were made. Calculations were made for three cycles of loading-unloading. The fatigue strength of the chamber was evaluated from the rate of plastic strain per cycle using the Manson-Coffin formula. Concept development of semi-continuous cylindrical HP reactor: for tubular reactor, allowing semi-continuous or continuous processing of foods, new original concept has been formulated.

The main requirements for industrial equipment for high-pressure thawing and high-pressure freezing were agreed by the project partners and are: maximum pressure of 400MPa, temperature range: -45 to +25°C. Selected geometry: Cylindrical with cooling/heating jacket. Inner diameter of 60mm, outer of 129mm. The matter of the concept of the proposed tubular reactor is application of a processing pipe, continuously subjected to high pressure and ended with valves. The tubular reactor, allows semi-continuous pressure-supported freezing and thawing. It has a modular structure, which allows free determination of its length depending on results of modelling studies.

Feasibility studies of the proposed concept of the tubular reactor are in progress. The potential advantages of PSF and PIT against conventional freezing and thawing processes, or a step further, the potential advantages of PSF and PIT processes performed in the metastable region seems to be directly related to the development of ice crystals in a given degree of size and size distribution. To verify the data collected by means of indirect observations (microstructure studies, drip loss, etc.), the use of the HPLT microscopic cell allowed direct observation of nucleation processes at high pressure.

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