The present work reports a computer simulation study of heat transfer in a rotary kiln used for drying and preheating food products such as fruits and vegetables with superheated steam at 1 bar. The heat transfer model includes radiation exchange among the superheated steam, refractory wall and the solid surface, conduction in the refractory wall, and the mass and energy balances of the steam and solids. Finite-difference techniques are used, and the steady state thermal conditions are assumed. The false transient approach is used to solve the wall conduction equation. The solution is initiated at the inlet of the kiln, and proceeds to the exit. The output data consist of distributions of the refractory wall temperature, solid temperature, steam temperature, and the total kiln length. The inlet of the kiln is the outlet of the gas (superheated steam), since the gas flow is countercurrent to the solid. Thus, for a fixed solid and gas temperature at the kiln inlet, the program predicts the inlet temperature of the gas (i.e. at the kiln exit) in order to achieve the specified exit temperature. In the absence of experimental results for food drying in a rotary kiln, the present model has been satisfactorily validated against numerical results of Sass [1] for drying of wet iron ore in a rotary kiln. The results are presented for drying of apple and carrot pieces. A detailed parametric study indicates that the influence of controlling parameters such as percent water content (with respect to dry solids), solids flow rate, gas flow rate, kiln inclination angle and the rotational speed of the kiln on the axial solids and gas temperature profiles and the total predicted kiln length is appreciable. The study reveals that a good design of a rotary kiln requires medium gas flow rate, small angle of inclination and low rotational speed of the kiln.

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