Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Fred A. Payne

Abstract

Cheese products are manufactured more consistently and with better quality if the curd cutting time can be consistently selected. An optical sensor that accurately predicts cutting time has been developed for large cheese vats, but the initial cost of these sensors makes them uneconomical for small artisan cheese manufacturers. The small artisan cheese vats require an inexpensive sensor technology that can be implemented simply. The initial cost of purchasing a sensor and installing these sensors plus the need for a computational program for implementing the algorithm make this technology excessively expensive for these smaller cheese manufacturers. The objective of this research was to develop a simpler sensor technology that can be implemented inexpensively by artisan cheese makers. A prototype sensor has been developed and shown to measure the coagulation of milk in initial experiments. This sensor uses the same concepts for estimating cutting time and much of the same technology as the light backscatter technology; however, it is considerably more cost effective than a light backscatter sensor welded permanently into a vat. The results will show the unique and novel design and characterize its performance on unhomogenized milk.

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