Predicting Lift-Off Time When Deep-Frying Potato Dough Snacks

T. Babb, G. P. Benham, J. Bows, R. Gonzalez-Farina, K. B. Kiradjiev, William Lee, S. Tibos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


When frying potato snacks, it is typically observed that the dough, which is submerged in hot oil, after some critical time increases its buoyancy and floats to the surface. The lift-off time is a useful metric in ensuring that the snacks are properly cooked. Here we propose a multiphase mathematical model for the frying of potato snacks, where water inside the dough is evaporated from both the top and bottom surfaces of the snack at two receding evaporation fronts. The vapor created at the top of the snack bubbles away to the surface, whereas the vapor released from the bottom surface forms a buoyant blanket layer. By asymptotic analysis, we show that the model simplifies to solving a one-dimensional Stefan problem in the snack coupled to a thin-film equation in the vapor blanket through a nonlinear boundary condition. Using our mathematical model, we predict the change in the snack density as a function of time and investigate how lift-off time depends on the different parameters of the problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-590
Number of pages17
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Issue number2
Early online date26 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


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