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Prediction of Temperature Distribution in a Food Self-Heating System

[+] Author Affiliations
Son H. Ho

University of Central Florida, Orlando; University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Muhammad M. Rahman, Aydin K. Sunol

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Paper No. IHTC14-23394, pp. 831-838; 8 pages
  • 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference
  • 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference, Volume 4
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 8–13, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4939-2 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3879-2
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


This paper presents a numerical modeling and simulation of heat transfer in a food self-heating unit for group meals. A model of a water-activated heater based on an exothermic reaction was developed. The resulting governing equations of heat conduction and chemical reaction were solved for an analytical approximate solution, to which experimental data found from literature were compared and curve fitted. Then a model of a complete food-heating unit, which includes a stack of four sets of food tray, heating tray, and heater sandwiched between them, as well as the cardboard container, was developed. A system of governing equations for heat transfer in the composite medium for the complete model was solved. Numerical solution of temperature distribution within the food-heating unit is presented. The responses in thermal performance of the heating system to the parameters that influence heating profiles of the heater such as decay constant and heat generation were studied in order to improve the thermal performance of the heating system. The results are useful for designing and optimizing self-heating systems for food served to groups of many people.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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