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A mathematical model for the prediction of the whey protein fouling mass in a pilot scale plate heat exchanger

Gu, Yingying, Bouvier, Laurent, Tonda, Alberto, Delaplace, Guillaume
Food control 2019 v.106 pp. 106729
Reynolds number, beta-lactoglobulin, calcium, casein, fouling, guidelines, heat exchangers, heat treatment, mathematical models, powders, prediction, surface area, temperature, whey protein concentrate
A better understanding of protein fouling during the thermal treatment of whey protein concentrate (WPC) solutions is critical for better fouling control. In order to understand the impact of various parameters on the total whey protein fouling mass, a dimensional analysis was applied to the experimental data obtained from a pilot scale plate heat exchanger, setting total fouling mass as the target variable. A model was developed to predict the total fouling mass, covering a series of variables including whey protein solution concentration (2.5–25 g/L), calcium concentration (70-120 ppm), running time (90-330 min), fouling solution flow rate (200-500 L/h), total fouling surface area, outlet temperature (82-97 °C) and differences in whey protein concentrate powders. In addition to temperature dimensionless parameters, the main parameters involved in the model are the Reynolds number (2000-5000) and the calcium to β-lactoglobulin molar ratio (2.7–34.7). The model developed concerns only pure whey proteins solutions since all the testing solutions were casein free. This model has allowed us to provide guidelines as to how the above parameters influence fouling within the plate heat exchanger, as well as empirical correlations for predicting such fouling development.