Widening the range of products produced on the basis of agricultural raw materials and improving the quality of these products and increasing their nutritional value represent urgent challenges. Therefore, the production of new mass consumption products with high nutritional and biological value brings to the fore the use of local nut flour as an enriching supplement in innovative technological processes. The high nutritional value of nuts (nuts, walnuts, and peanuts) is due to their chemical composition, including lipids, a large amount of soluble proteins that are well absorbed by the human body, sufficiently large quantities of vitamin B1 and a small amount of vitamins PP and E. It is known that in peanut grains, lipids have a balanced composition of fats and acids, as well as sufficiently large amounts of essential amino acids, which makes their protein composition closer to that of animal proteins. This study considers the influence of thermoplastic extrusion parameters on the functional and physicochemical properties of extrudates in their formation process. The technological and design parameters of the process and their variation ranges are based on studies conducted on model systems. The ratio of the extrusion mixture components (formulation) is also developed. Based on the methodology for multifactorial experimental design, the variation of the volume weights, expansion rates, and mechanical specific energy expenditure of porous extrudates enriched with starchbased nut flour is studied. It has been established that the best quality indicators of the products are achieved with the minimum volume weight and the maximum expansion rate.
Extruded products with different compositions and functional properties are produced on the basis of starchcontaining raw materials using various plant and animal supplements. We have experimentally substantiated the use of nontraditional raw materials, namely, nut flours, in the production of porous extrudates, as enriching supplements. This will expand not only the range of these products, but will also improve their quality and nutritional value. (
Based on previous studies, we
have investigated the influence of raw materials in shaping the structure of extrudates and
conducted studies on extrudate model systems, using starch gel from various origins. This
article describes the process of producing extrudates by the method of thermoplastic
extrusion as a thermotropic process for the formation of biopolymer gels in the stream
(
During the process of extrusion, moisture determines the gelatinization point of
the processed raw materials, whilst also influencing the shaping of the structure of
extrudates (
Minimal physicochemical transformations occur in gels in an amorphous state, that
is, when their moisture content is minimal. Therefore, the storage of porous
extrudates is recommended at low (4–7%) moisture contents (
Based on a literature review, it can be concluded that in addition to the composition (formulation) and technological parameters (moisture content, temperature and processing time), the shaping of the structure of the extrudates is also influenced by the parameters of the thermoplastic extrusion process (technological and design parameters).
Currently, the development of new formulations for products manufactured by the method of thermoplastic extrusion is mostly based on the empirical selection of the components of processed raw materials and the process operating and design parameters. In the bestcase scenario, the systems analysis method is used for the multifactorial process (
(
Therefore, the task of studying the structure of extrudates is based on studying the forms of the isotropic and anisotropic microstructural forms of products based on starch, proteins or their mixtures. As shown in the thermoplastic extrusion process scheme (Figure
Schematic of the extruder.
In order to explain the mechanism for shaping the anisotropic structure of extrudates (
Based on the above, the purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of the extrusion process parameters on the functional characteristics of the extrudates (volume weight – ρ and expansion rate  Exp) and physicochemical properties (mechanical specific energy  E).
Based on the studies conducted, the influence of thermoplastic extrusion process parameters (W, T, n, s and d) on the formation of the functional (ρ and Exp) and physicochemical parameters (E) of extrudates will be determined. The advantage of using the systems analysis method for solving the optimization problem to produce functional products with useful properties will be shown.
For the purpose of carrying out experimental studies, in accordance with the formulations, we selected the following materials: cornflakes –
For the extrudates, we used an extruder K  30 (Ukraine), composed of an extrusion chamber, an auger kit, a forming die with different matrix diameters and a control panel.
The extruder chamber is a hollow cylinder with a 400 mm length and a 19 mm inner diameter of the auger, with six longitudinal channels designed to transport the mass processed when using raw materials with the floury structure. On the outer surface of the cylinder, there are two mounted heating elements. In general, the extruder has three zones: mixing, plasticizing and charging. From the top of the cylinder, there is a vertical singlescrew proportioning feeder secured with a pyramid hopper. Inside the chamber, a singlethread variablepitch auger is placed with an outer diameter of 19 mm.
During the studies, we used the auger kit with varying values of charging. At the end of the extruder chamber, the forming die with a matrix is connected by a threaded connection.
We used matrices with different hole diameters. We varied the auger speed from 150 to 230 min^{1} and measured the rotary speed by means of a tachometer. The temperature in the cylinder was measured using a thermocouple.
The testing methodology used in the experiments is as follows. In the preliminary studies, the ratio of the extrusion mixture components was determined by a sensory analysis of taste, color and rigidity:
 Cornflakes – 56.8%;
 Corn starch – 10%;
 Walnut – 12%;
 Peanut – 4.5%;
 Table salt – 0.7%;
 Moisture content of mixture with added water – 16%.
During the experiments, the moisture content of the mixture varied between 16% and 35%. The mixture components were hydrated before the extrusion process and settled at a temperature of 5 °C for 24 h. We extruded the mixture for the determined values of moisture content, temperature, auger speed, auger types and matrix size. A temperature of 70 °C was maintained in the feed zone of the extruder.
After the extruder was operated in a stable mode, we took samples and determined their volume weights and expansion rates, and in parallel, we calculated the mechanical specific energy expenditure.
The volume weights of the extrudates were determined using vessels of a previouslyknown capacity of 0.5 • 10^{3} dm^{3} that were filled with extrudates and then weighed on an analytical balance. The volume weight was calculated by the following formula (
where G is the weight of the extrudates, kg, and V is the volume occupied by the extrudates, m^{3}.
The expansion rate of the extrudates was calculated as follows (
where D is the extrudate diameter, mm, and d is the matrix die hole diameter, mm.
The mechanical specific energy was calculated using the formula (
where M is the auger torque, nm, N is the auger speed, min^{1}, and Q is the extruder capacity, kg/h.
To further optimize the process of obtaining the base product, we used a mathematical method multifactorial experimental design (
Factor variation range.
Factors  Levels  



#  1  2  3  4  5  


1  Mixture’s moisture content, %  15  20  25  30  35 
2  Temperature in the cylinder, °C  150  160  170  180  190 
3  Auger speed, min^{1}  150  170  190  210  230 
4  Auger charging degree  1  2  3  4  5 
5  Matrix diameter, mm  2  3  4  5  6 
The experiment performance grid is shown in Table
Experiment performance grid.
#  W%  T °C  n min^{1}  S  d 



1  15  150  150  1  2 
2  15  160  170  2  4 
3  15  170  190  3  3 
4  15  180  210  4  6 
5  15  190  230  5  5 
6  20  150  170  4  4 
7  20  160  230  1  3 
8  20  170  210  3  6 
9  20  180  150  2  5 
10  20  190  190  5  2 
11  25  150  190  2  6 
12  25  160  170  5  5 
13  25  170  230  4  2 
14  25  180  210  1  4 
15  25  190  150  3  3 
16  30  150  210  5  3 
17  30  160  150  4  6 
18  30  170  190  1  5 
19  30  180  170  3  2 
20  30  190  230  2  4 
21  35  150  230  3  5 
22  35  160  210  2  2 
23  35  170  150  5  4 
24  35  180  190  4  3 
25  35  190  170  1  6 
To analyze the test parameters (the moisture content of the starch paste, gelatinization point, starch paste transparency, starch paste embrittlement temperature and starch paste modulus of elasticity) of the extrusion products, a statistical analysis of the data was carried out and the reliability of the data was evaluated by a Ttest using the Windows IBM SPSS Statistics program (version 20.0). To describe the ordered sample, we used the statistical functions of the average arithmetic value and the average standard error. A graphical interpretation of the results was made using Microsoft Excel. Figure
The influence of the process parameters on the volume weight of extrudates.
The influence of the process parameters on the expansion rate of extrudates.
The influence of the thermoplastic extrusion process parameters on the mechanical specific energy.
As is known, any production technology requires establishing the process parameters. The extrusion process parameters are as follows: the moisture content of raw materials, the temperature in the extruder’s cylinder, the auger speed, and the extruder design parameters (the auger type and a matrix die hole diameter).
Based on the experimental studies, we have determined the relationship between the process parameters and the functional and physical characteristics of extrudates. The results of the studies are presented in Table
The influence of the process parameters on the functional and physical characteristics of extrudates
Factors  Levels  



#  1  2  3  4  5  


1  ρ (W) 10^{3}  0.160  0.144  0.225  0.311  0.360 
2  ρ (T) 10^{3}  0.234  0.214  0.218  0.234  0.300 
3  ρ (n) 10^{3}  0.222  0.236  0.260  0.272  0.210 
4  ρ (S) 10^{3}  0.262  0.244  0.210  0.234  0.250 
5  ρ (d) 10^{3}  0.228  0.218  0.241  0.245  0.268 
6  Exp (W)  1.72  2.52  2.2  2.0  1.56 
7  Exp (T)  1.68  1.88  1.92  2.01  2.51 
8  Exp (n)  1.95  1.78  1.85  1.95  2.47 
9  Exp (S)  1.34  1.96  2.14  2.22  2.34 
10  Exp (d)  2.25  2.43  2.11  1.90  1.31 
11  E(W) 10^{3}  7.725  7.197  6.801  6.450  4.332 
12  E(T) 10^{3}  7.235  7.568  6.930  6.720  4.052 
13  E(n) 10^{3}  4.950  5.212  6.803  7.015  8.525 
14  E(S) 10^{3}  4.514  5.520  6.529  7.502  8.440 
15  E(d) 10^{3}  8.110  8.052  7.603  5.224  3.516 
Based on the experimental results, we have constructed the experimental curves for the relationship between the process parameters and the functional and physical characteristics of extrudates.
Figure
Enrichment of ricebased extrudates with the salts of calcium reduces the volume weight from 0.224 to 0.126 g∙cm–3, and the expansion index from 3.21 to 2.93 (
The addition of coconut to extrudates produced from corn and rice flour reduces the degree of expansion, increases the volume weight and is characterized by relatively dark color, but they were rich in protein, minerals, and have antioxidant properties (
Many studies (
Figure
It is known that the greater the expansion rate of the extrudates, the greater the number of porous masses and the better their visual side and organoleptic characteristics. Compared to other parameters, the moisture content of the raw materials and the matrix die hole diameter have a greater influence on the expansion rate of the extruder. The maximum expansion rate is observed in the case of a 20% moisture content and a matrix die hole diameter of 3 mm.
In this case, the relatively low values of the volume weights and expansion rates of the extrudates, compared to the similar data of extrudates based on pure starch or corn flour, is explained by the supplement of nut flour, due to the fat content, which partially impedes the extrusion process.
Enrichment of extrudates based on corn flour with barley, fondant apple and sugarbeet reduces the degree of their expansion, deteriorates their structure, increases their density and firmness, while addition of 1% pectin improves the degree of their expansion (
At a moisture content of 14% and a 4%concentration of product and the, extrudates had the highest expansion ratio at an auger speed of 250 m^{1} (
The relationship between the expansion rate of extrudates and the process parameters has been extensively studied (
Figure
This work allows us to understand the physical nature of the influence of each factor affecting the thermoplastic extru¬sion process on the functional and physical characteristics of extrudates enriched with nut flour.
By varying the process parameters, studies of the volume weights and the expansion rates show that they are inversely proportional to each other. In particular, the greater the extrudates expansion rates, the less their volume weights. In addition, the obtained products are airier, more tender and have better nutritional and consumer values. Therefore, in order to optimize the process of producing extrudates with a porous structure, it is necessary to solve the optimization problem: ρ(W; T; n; s; d) = min; Exp(W; T; n; s; d) = max.
This work was supported by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia (SRNSFG) grant FR18 – 16641 "Studying the Process of Extrusion Products Production Enriched with Walnut Crop Flour“.