Improving the quality of milk dispersion in a counter-jet homogenizer
Keywords:milk, homogenization, homogenizer, counter-jet homogenizers, reflector, degree of dispersion
Homogenization is a necessary process in the production of drinking milk and most dairy products. The specific energy consumption of the most common valve homogenizers reaches 8 kW h.t-1. A promising way to reduce it is the introduction of more effective counter-jet homogenizers. The purpose of these studies is to increase the efficiency of machines of this type through fuller use of their kinetic energy. To achieve this, the design of a ring reflector was developed and experimental studies were carried out to determine its influence on the efficiency of milk fat dispersion in a counter-jet homogenizer. Calculations were made to determine the reflector’s design parameters. An installation for experimental research has been developed, in which the required milk pressure is created with the help of compressed carbon dioxide. The dispersive indices of the milk emulsion were determined by computer analysis of milk sample micrographs obtained with an optical microscope and a digital camera using Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Visual Studio C# software using the OpenCV Sharp library. As a result of research, the formula for defining the angle of the reflector top has been determined analytically. Experimental studies proved its validity and allowed determination of the optimal diameter. A comparison of the dependence of the degree of homogenization on the excess pressure in a counter-jet homogenizer proves a 15 – 20% increase in the degree of dispersion when using a reflector. At the same time, specific energy consumption does not increase. Comparison of the distribution curves of milk fat globules by size after counter-jet homogenization and homogenization with a reflector suggests that the average diameter of fat globules for the experimental method decreases from 0.99 to 0.83 μm. This indicates the high quality of the dispersal characteristics of the milk emulsion after processing in a counter-jet homogenizer with a reflector.
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