A variational finite element approach using triangular simplex and 2nd order quadrilateral elements was employed to analyze several problem areas that are of practical importance in the thermal processing of conduction heating products: (1) A method was developed to calculate conversion factors for thermal process design applicable to glass jars filled with conduction heating products. (2) The overshooting of temperatures after steam-off was studied, indicating that not including the contribution of overshooting to sterilization values in process design, can lead to gross overprocessing. (3) A method of correcting sterilization values to account for harmonious fluctuations in retort temperature was developed. (4) The air cooling of cans by natural convection was analyzed.