A group of pizza loving, engineering students, while taking Dr. Ravi Gorthala's heat transfer and thermal engineering class at the University of New Haven, devised an experiment using phase change materials for a simple and creative solution to keep pizza warm.
Typically, a pizza comes out of the oven at 75C/167F . According to the students, people enjoy consuming their pizza quite warm but not too hot at 50C/122F. Most prefer their meals hot and believe the heat heightens flavors and sustains a sense of comfort. On the other hand, tongue burn is painful and lasting. Food temperature is important. Therefore, most pizza chains strive to make deliveries within 30 minutes and by using insulated delivery bags to ensure their pizzas stay hot. But with cold weather, bad traffic and GPS failure, keeping pizza hot is a common challenge that often ends in a disappointing meal.
Simulation of experimental wooden box in ANSYS
The second test fared also well. It was recorded with the pizza going into the box at a lower temperature but with the addition of two bottles of PCM 53C/127F. After 2 hours, the pizza registered at 42C/108F. After 10 hours (600 minutes), the same pizza in the same box was still at 31C/88F. At this temperature, the pizza is not hot but clearly still enjoyable depending on the your level of hunger.
In the first experiment, the pizza was placed inside the insulated box at 50C/122F without the PCM. An hour later, the pizza checked at 41C/106F.
So the next time you receive your favorite pizza or delivery food, lukewarm or cold, suggest using PCMs or for that matter,consider PCMs for any foods you’d like to keep hot at anytime for any reasons.
This article has been wriiten by Nina Reinhart as a summary of the experiment report. Nina Reinhart is a co-founder of RGEES LLC, a small women owned company specializing in design and manufacture of PCM based thermal energy storage solutions.