Student Spotlight: Aaron Matzke

 

Aaron    This past summer Aaron has been working in a lab under Dr. Subbiah and Dr. Birla on a project with ConAgra on East Campus. ConAgra produces many precooked frozen meals to sell and food safety is a top priority. “Our research is trying to develop a more accurate way of instructions of how to cook the meals that cover all ranges of microwave ovens,” Aaron explains. The current research method being used is to have a lot of different microwave ovens in the room and test each one with different food products. “It’s very time consuming and requires a lot of food,” he said. So the lab Aaron is working in is developing a new way of research by using a computer simulation called COMSOL Multiphysics. Within the software they are able to draw the microwave oven cavity, the food product and the tray in 3D and then include the actual microwaves, specific heat, dielectric properties of the food, etc. when evaluating the food. The models provide a more accurate and efficient method of measuring the heat transfer to the food over a certain period of time to validate heating time required for different microwave ovens.

     Aaron started out in Dr. Subbiah’s lab by talking to him after class one day and asked for a tour of his lab. He then volunteered in the lab for about a semester and will continue doing research for this project through UCARE in the fall.

 

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