Dehydration of apple tissue: Intercomparison of neutron tomography with numerical modelling

Wondwosen Aregawi, Thijs Defraeye, Saba Saneinejad, Peter Vontobel, Eberhard Lehmann, Jan Carmeliet, Dominique Derome, Pieter Verboven, Bart Nicolai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


A multiphysics model was applied to study the moisture loss accompanied by large mechanical deformation of apple tissue samples (Malus × domestica Borkh. cv. 'Braeburn') during dehydration. The model incorporated a water transport model and a nonlinear viscoelastic deformation model and was solved using the finite element method. Satisfactory model performance was indicated, based on a comparison of the total water loss, the transient water distribution profiles and the mechanical deformation profiles, measured using quantitative neutron tomography. This indicated that the numerical model is a viable alternative to (neutron) experiments. A particular advantage of the model, compared to the experiments, is that it allows to quantify the hygro-stresses during drying, which showed that during dehydration, the surface of the sample attempts to shrink but is restrained by the inner wet tissue. Although access to facilities which produce neutrons is limited, neutron imaging also showed large potential for studies on fruit dehydration, as accurate quantification of the water content was possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant agreement no. 245288 . The authors would also like to acknowledge the Research Foundation – Flanders (Grant no. FWO G.0603.08), the KU Leuven (project OT 08/023) and the EC (FP7-226783 project InsideFood) for financial support. Thijs Defraeye is a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The experiments were carried out at the NEUTRA beamline of the Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland. We would like to acknowledge the contributions and support of the Paul Scherrer Institute NEUTRA support team.


  • Apple
  • Dehydration
  • Neutron tomography
  • Nonlinear viscoelastic
  • Water transport


Dive into the research topics of 'Dehydration of apple tissue: Intercomparison of neutron tomography with numerical modelling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this