The stickiness curves of dairy powder : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Technology in Bioprocess Engineering at Massey University

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Massey University
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Powder stickiness problems encountered during spray drying are important to the dairy industry. Instantaneous stickiness is a surface phenomena that is caused by exceeding the glass transition temperature of the amorphous sugar in the powder, usually lactose in dairy powders. Instantaneous stickiness occurs at a certain temperature above the Tg of amorphous lactose and has been denoted as the critical "X" value. Whether powder particles are sticky or not depends on whether there is enough liquid flow on the surface between the particles. Two particles stick to each other when there is enough liquid flow to form a bridge between them after the contact. This project aimed to measure the instantaneous sticky point conditions for various dairy powders and to relate these to the operating conditions to give a commerical outcome for the dairy industry. The particle-gun rig was developed to simulate the conditions in the spray drier and the ducting pipe and cyclone. The stickiness of powder particles occurs after a short resident time in the particle-gun. Thus, stickiness is a surface phenomenon and the point of adhesion is the instantaneous sticky point. The amount of deposit on the plate was measured at a temperature, with increasing relative humidity. At a particular temperature and relative humidity, the powder stuck to the stainless steel plate instantaneously. This was observed by a sudden change in % deposition on a % deposition verse RH plot. The T-Tg plot and stickiness curve profile were developed to determine the critical "X" value for the dairy powders. The critical 'X' value is the temperature which exceeds the Tg of amorphous lactose when instantaneous stickiness occurs. The critical "X" values tor various dairy powders including WMP, SMP, MPC, whey protein, buttermilk, white cheese powder and GLUMP powder were found to be 33-49°C. 37-42°C. 42-51C. 50°C, 37-39°C, 28.5°C, and 40.7°C respectively. In addition, the slope of the trend line in the T-Tg plot, indicates how quickly the particular powder becomes sticky once the instantaneous sticky point has been exceeded. The particle-gun rig demonstrated that powders with greater than 30% amorphous lactose are more likely to cause blockage than powders with less than 30%. Both the critical 'X' value and the slope are unique to the powder. The stickiness curve was used to relate the powder surface stickiness condition with the drier outlet temperature and relative humidity. It was recommended to operate at conditions below the stickiness curve for a powder to avoid any chamber or cyclone blockages caused by stickiness. The slope enables a decision to be made about how close to the critical point a plant should be run for a particular powder. The inlet air temperature or concentrate feeding rate can be used to move the operating conditions towards or away from the stickiness curve, according to the operating situations.
Dried milk, Mechanical properties, Lactose products, Spray drying