June 4, 2013
Microbubbles Point The Way To A Revolution In Food Processing
Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found a more efficient way to dry products for food manufacture, using tiny, hot bubbles.
Instead of boiling a product to evaporate water - the most common technique used by industry - the Sheffield team injected hot microbubbles through the liquid, causing the water to evaporate without boiling.
"The process we have developed involves applying the right concentration of hot microbubbles to a thin layer of liquid. This causes the water to vaporize with very little heating of the mixture."
The ability of microbubbles to draw heat out of a liquid can be exploited in many industrial processes, from food processing to biofuel production.
Professor Zimmerman's team is currently working on a pilot project with South Yorkshire-based company, Carbon Sequestration Ltd., using the technique to remove excess water from whey, commonly used as an animal food. If whey is overheated when its water content is removed, it loses much of its nutritional value.
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