Research and design for improved packaging of food during daily use outside refrigerated environment
Food waste has a huge impact on economic losses and climate. One of the leading problems is due to lack of effective refrigeration. Transitioning to alternative cooling technologies, such as passive cooling, can offer a potentially more sustainable solution. Therefore, the research investigates how food can be kept cold without relying on a refrigerator or electrical components utilizing the combination of insulation materials and cooling fluid. Using design thinking as a methodology, first of all a user survey was conducted during the study to understand user behavior regarding the storage of chilled food and to define the target audience. Subsequently, an exploratory study was performed to determine the optimal placement of cooling elements to a cooling box for extended cooling. Further, material research was conducted for the inner and outer layer of the cooling container, considering temperature resistance and insulation effects. In parallel with this, an examination was carried out to identify a cooling fluid with efficient cooling capacity and low environmental impact. After implementing this method, it was discovered that the most efficient approach involved placing an ice cooling element at the bottom and around the side walls of a cooling container. Further, the material PLA was demonstrated as suitable to use for cold environments. In consideration of previous research and the application of cooling media in commercial settings, salt solutions were capable of storing food below 4.4 °C. Consequently, the decision was made to proceed with a 20% NaCl solution mixed with water. Ultimately, a final cooling element was designed that fits into the standard IKEA +365 containers measuring 15 x 15 x 7 cm. The cooling capacity of this product was tested and maintained a temperature below 4.4°C for an average of 1.17 hours. This study contributes to existing literature by providing more insights in how passive refrigeration can be aligned with the needs of end-users in order to design both practical and user-fit solutions. However, further research is required regarding the practical implications; to improve insulation, address condensation issues and evaluate compatibility with dishwashers.
Source (journal)
IOP conference series : earth and environmental science. - Bristol
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Source (book)
International Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Factors, Design and Education for Sustainability 2023, 14-18 August, 2023, Bandung, Indonesia
Bristol : IOP Publishing , 2023
1256 :1 (2023) , p. 1-10
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Creation 24.01.2024
Last edited 17.06.2024
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