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Microscale Thermo-Fluid Lab Microwave and Radio-Frequency Heating

Microwave heating is very popular in food industries as well as in home and office to warm up foodstuffs quickly. However, this technique provides non-uniform heating within the system. The potential existence of standing wave due to the transmission and reflection from interfaces is responsible for this non-uniform heating. Therefore, it is important to study the coupling between electromagnetic wave propagation and energy transfer in the system to predict the temperature distribution within the foodstuff. In this study, we obtained analytical results to predict the temperature distribution in 3D rectangular and cylindrical shaped food objects which can be used for designing foodstuff requiring microwave [1] or radioactive heating [2]. For radio frequency heating, the temperature dependent dielectric properties influence the temperature distribution significantly, but the effect of temperature dependent dielectric properties is less dominant for the microwave frequency used in the household microwave oven. Our results also show that microwave heating provides heterogeneous temperature distribution with alternate hot and cold spots. On the other hand, the radio frequency heating allows almost uniform temperature distribution within the body, which makes it a better choice for quick and convenient heating process especially for commercial and industrial heating [3].


  1. Hossan, M.R., Byun, D., and Dutta, P., 2010, “Analysis of Microwave Heating for Cylindrical Shaped Objects,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 53(23-24), pp 5129-5138.
  2. Hossan, M.R. and Dutta, P., 2012, “Effects of Temperature Dependent Properties in Electromagnetic Heating” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 55, pp. 3412-3422.
  3. Mani, K.B., Hossan, M.R. and Dutta, P., 2013, “Thermal Analysis of Microwave Assisted Bonding of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Substrates in Microfluidic Devices” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 58, pp. 229-239.