Authors: Noemi Baldino, Lucia Seta, Francesca Romana Lupi, Domenico Gabriele, Bruno de Cindio
Starch molding is a widely used shape forming technique in the confectionery industry. Candies are deposited into cavities imprinted in dry granular starch. A drying stage follows deposition, which largely determines the productivity of the process and the candy quality. In the present work a finite elements model was developed that quantitatively predicted the moisture diffusion from a single candy piece into the starch bed or air at a given temperature (50°C). This simulated a simultaneous bidimensional heat and moisture transfer accounting for a variation in the candy physical properties as functions of local moisture content and temperature. Model validity was attained for candy drying experiments performed both in the laboratory and monitored in the Silagum srl (Lamezia Terme (CZ)), which has contributed to this work. The model is a powerful tool for analyzing the behavior of an industrial drying process.