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Food Refrigeration -the effect of water vapour


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Food Refrigeration -the effect of water vapour

Air relative humidity (RH) in a refrigerated facility is determined by the balance between the rates of entry and removal of water vapour. Air RH affects the storage life of many refrigerated products and the performance of the refrigeration system. Low RH increases moisture loss from unwrapped product potentially resulting in quality defects as well as the loss of saleable weight. High RH provides the potential for increased microbiological growth and problems such as condensation or ice forming on surfaces and loss of paper-based packaging strength. Additionally, for facilities operating near or below 0 degrees C, RH affects the rate of frost formation on air-cooling coils and hence the need for defrost. This paper describes the main moisture transport processes in refrigerated facilities, methods to quantify them, and discusses how water vapour and air RH can be optimally managed.

The author was the winner of the 2011 J&E Hall International Gold Medal. Prof Cleland is a world expert in transport and food refrigeration based at Massey University in New Zealand.