This paper delivers a contribution aimed at improving available mathematical models of salami ripening by switching to a description of the sausage as a heterogeneous material, obviously made of fat and minced lean meat, and to the adoption of the porous medium approach for water transport from the lean meat phase to outside, which represents a novelty.
The literature data as well as mathematical correlations able of describing or approximating water diffusion in fresh lean meat have been reviewed. Two semi-empirical correlations for water diffusivity as a function of the local moisture content were selected, i.e., from Saravacos and Datta. Then, the optimal parameters were determined for them by coupling a distributed-parameter mathematical model of minced meat drying (adopting the porous media approach) and an optimization algorithm with available experimental data. A code was implemented and successfully run by invoking the “transport in porous media” and “optimization” physics in the Comsol Multiphysics®4.3 platform.
The mathematical modeling work allowed discussion and comparison of the predictions against independently available experimental results, in terms of weight loss as well as space and time profiles of moisture in a reference lean meat specimen.