The dielectric material assisted microwave freeze-drying was investigated theoretically in this study. A coupled heat and mass transfer model was developed considering distributions of the temperature, ice saturation and vapor mass concentration inside the material being dried, as well as the vapor sublimation-desublimation in the frozen region. The effects of temperature and saturation on the effective conductivities were analyzed based on heat and mass flux equations. The model was solved numerically by the variable time-step finite-deference technique with two movable boundaries in an initially unsaturated porous sphere frozen from an aqueous solution of mannitol. The sintered silicon carbide (SiC) was selected as the dielectric material. The results show that dielectric material can significantly enhance microwave freeze-drying process. For case of the dielectric field strength, E = 4000 V/m under typical operating conditions, the drying time is 2081 s, 30.1% shorter and 47.2% longer, respectively, than those for E = 2000 V/m and E = 6000 V/m. The heat and mass transfer mechanisms during the drying process were discussed.
- Heat and mass transfer
- Porous material
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry