This study attempted to quantify effects of dielectric properties (DPs) and densities of a surrounding container and treated food products on heating uniformity in a 6 kW, 27.12 MHz parallel plate radio frequency (RF) system. A computer simulation model was established with finite element-based commercial software, COMSOL Multiphysics®, and experiments with 1.5 kg soybean flour packed in a rectangular polystyrene container were performed to validate the developed model. Surface temperature distributions of soybean flour in three different horizontal layers were obtained with an infrared camera, and temperature-time histories at two representative locations inside the container were monitored with two optical fiber sensors. The uniformity index (UI) was used as a criterion to evaluate the RF heating uniformity within food products. Results showed that the RF heating uniformity in food samples was clearly influenced by DPs and density of the surrounding container. UI was the lowest when the surrounding container dielectric constant was in a comparable range of the sample's, with the loss factor values of surrounding container lying between 0.01-0.1% of the sample's. The optimum RF heating uniformity in food products could be achieved with a smaller density value of the surrounding container. The correlations of DPs and density between surrounding container and food products derived from the validated simulation model could provide valuable information and strategy to improve the RF heating uniformity in low moisture foods for insect or microbial control. Thus, the established strategy can further be used for developing effective industrial-scale RF treatment protocols after optimization of this process by the food industry. Industrial relevance Although the most important characteristic of radio frequency (RF) treatments is fast and volumetric heating generated by dipole rotation and ionic conduction, edge over-heating is still a major problem for foods heated in rectangular containers. The validated model was used to study the effects of dielectric properties and density of sample and surrounding container on sample uniformity index. Simulated results illustrated that the RF heating uniformity could be improved when the dielectric constant and density of surrounding container and sample were in accordance with the established relationships. The established strategy may provide valuable optimized methods to ensure RF heating uniformity in industrial applications.
|Titolo:||A novel strategy for improving radio frequency heating uniformity of dry food products using computational modeling|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articoli su Rivista|