The description of the rheological properties of food material plays an important role in food engineering. Particularly for the optimisation of pasta manufacturing process (extrusion) is needful to know the rheological properties of semolina dough. Unfortunately characterisation of non-Newtonian fluids, such as food doughs, requires a notable time effort, especially in terms of number of tests to be carried out. The present work proposes an alternative method, based on the combination of laboratory measurement, made with a simplified tool, with the inversion of a finite elements numerical model. To determine the rheological parameters, an objective function, defined as the distance between simulation and experimental data, was considered and the well-known Levenberg-Marqard optimisation algorithm was used. In order to verify the feasibility of the method, the rheological characterisation of the dough was carried also by a traditional procedure. Results shown that the difference between measurements of rheological parameters of the semolina dough made with traditional procedure and inverse methods are very small (maximum percentage error equal to 3.6%). This agreement supports the coherence of the inverse method that, in general, may be used to characterise many non-Newtonian materials.
Inverse method; non-Newtonian fluids; rheology; finite elements.