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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8283245, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/8283245
Research Article

Phase Characterization of Cucumber Growth: A Chemical Gel Model

Bo Li,1,2 Xuejing Liu,1,2 and Junshi Zhang2,3

1School of Mechanical Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, 28 Xianning West Road, Xi’an 710049, China
2State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures, Xi’an Jiaotong University, 28 Xianning West Road, Xi’an 710049, China
3School of Aerospace, Xi’an Jiaotong University, 28 Xianning West Road, Xi’an 710049, China

Received 15 December 2015; Accepted 22 February 2016

Academic Editor: Kai Chen

Copyright © 2016 Bo Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cucumber grows with complex phenomena by changing its volume and shape, which is not fully investigated and challenges agriculture and food safety industry. In order to understand the mechanism and to characterize the growth process, the cucumber is modeled as a hydrogel in swelling and its development is studied in both preharvest and postharvest stages. Based on thermodynamics, constitutive equations, incorporating biological quantities, are established. The growth behavior of cucumber follows the classic theory of continuous or discontinuous phase transition. The mechanism of bulged tail in cucumber is interpreted by phase coexistence and characterized by critical conditions. Conclusions are given for advances in food engineering and novel fabrication techniques in mechanical biology.