Heat transfer research leads to new fry basket
McDonald's Corporation contracted with Argonne to examine the fundamental characteristics of fryer equipment and heat transfer during food frying. Argonne was selected for its expertise in two-phase heat transfer and for its experimental facilities. The challenge from McDonald's to Argonne was to discover practical methods for faster cooking of fried products.
The fundamental research data and innovative thinking from Argonne made possible the invention of several frying baskets, including a Chicken McNugget Fry Basket, patented by McDonald's. The McNugget Basket is used in more than 13,000 McDonald's restaurants that serve more than 22 million people worldwide each day.
Using the McNugget Basket instead of traditional fry baskets improves the quality and consistency of the finished product and shortens cooking time for faster delivery to McDonald's customers. These improvements result from the design of the basket, which vertically orients the McNuggets in four segments and effectively uses the hot vapor that escapes during frying to augment heat transfer. Also, the new cooking procedures used with this basket are easier for the restaurant crew.
The research at Argonne also resulted in a more general patent on the method of exploiting orientation and vapor release in frying food products. This patent was issued jointly to Argonne and McDonald's.
Working with Argonne
Argonne has many types of contractual agreements to meet the needs and interests of industry, state and local governments, federal agencies and other organizations.
For More Information
For more information, contact Argonne's Technology Development and Commercialization (800-627-2596, firstname.lastname@example.org).