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Turducken cooking


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Class: Introduction to Computer Aided Engineering (ME 408)

Year: Fall 2018

Goal: Design, test, and validate electric skewer(s) to cook the given turducken faster but with the least amount of burnt meat using CAE as a tool, following the given design requirements/requests


  • Total of 66211 elements, fully mapped mesh in the mesh of the half turducken

  • Takes only about 3.8 hours to fully cook

  • Only 38.8% of the turducken burnt at the end of the cooking process

  • Consistent with given dimensions, qualifications, and requirements of the Turducken and custom 


Technical Details

The main goal of the project was to design a system for cooking a client's brand of genetically engineered Truducken with custom-designed skewers. The whole bird-item consists of the turkey, ducken (duck and chicken), and stuffing. The design should produce the fastest cooking time, but also the most consistent cooking temperatures throughout the bird, with the least amount of burnt meat.

To accurately model the system, the geometry and the materials of the components had to be calculated and determined. The thermal properties, such as conductivity, density, and specific heat, of the raw materials are functions of temperature, which varied throughout the cooking process. Dehydration also had to be considered. The stuffing was determined to be 100% pork fat, to ensure fastest and most consistent cooking.

The skewer was designed to be composed of silver, as it has a very high thermal conductivity. This helps to maximize the heat flux from the surface of the skewers into the turducken. Silver is also FDA-approved safe to use with food. The power of the skewer was determined by calculating the "additional" power needed to cook the turducken faster than the initially calculated cooking time.

Meshing was done on Altair Hyperworks software, using Optistruct, ANSYS, and Engineering Solutions' CFD-AcuSolve user profiles to construct solid map, solid tetrahedral, and hex-core meshes in the different regions of each component. These were exported to ANSYS. To reduce simulation time and increase computational efficiency, the turducken was split into half, as they were genetically engineered to be symmetrical. Elements sizes ranged between about 0.04 inches for smaller tetrahedral meshes, to about 0.4 inches for larger solid map meshes. To reduce the possibility of a tetra collapse, a solid map mesh was used for the ducken component and most of the turkey component. Several planar cuts were made to the turkey component to mappable pieces. For the stuffing, solid tetrahedral mesh was used due to its irregular shape. For the wing, hex-core mesh was used with three layers. The Hypermesh model consists of 66211 elements in total, with only 0.2% of the elements with Jacobian less than 0.5 and only 0.1% of the elements with an aspect ratio greater than 5.

Boundary conditions were applied to the Hypermesh model once it's been exported to ANSYS Workbench. Convection and heat flux was applied to appropriate surfaces. The total cooking time was 13555 seconds, or 3.76 hours. Only 38.8% of the Turducken was burnt at the end of the process. To calculate the burnt volume, MATLAB codes were used to find nodes that were over a certain temperature.

Every simulation was coupled with hand calculations, to validate and verify the results. The transient properties of food were calculated in Excel, and the cooking times were also calculated numerically and then compared to simulation results.

All design criteria and requirements were met. The technical report can be found here.

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