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International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314

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Multiphase porous media model for intermittent microwave

convective drying (IMCD) of food
C. Kumar a, M.U.H. Joardder a, T.W. Farrell b, M.A. Karim a, *
Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Mathematical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Intermittent microwave convective (IMCD) drying is an advanced drying technology that improves both
Received 2 August 2015 energy efciency and food quality during the drying of food materials. Despite numerous experimental
Received in revised form studies available for IMCD, there is no complete multiphase porous media model available to describe the
19 January 2016
process. A multiphase porous media model considering liquid water, gases and the solid matrix inside
Accepted 20 January 2016
Available online 19 April 2016
the food during drying can provide in depth understanding of IMCD. In this article, rstly a multiphase
porous media model was developed for IMCD. Then the model is validated against experimental data by
comparing moisture content and temperature distributions after each heating and tempering periods.
Intermittent microwave
The prole of vapour pressures and evaporation during IMCD are presented and discussed. The relative
Drying contribution of water and vapour uxes due to gas pressure and diffusion demonstrated that the uxes
Mathematical model due are relatively higher in IMCD compared to convection drying and this makes the IMCD faster.
Lambert's law 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Moisture ux
Vapour pressure
COMSOL multiphysics
Multiphase porous media

1. Introduction Researchers have attempted to develop models for continuous

microwave convective drying without considering intermittency.
Combined microwave convection drying can signicantly Those are only either empirical models [5,15], or single-phase
shorten the drying time and improve the product quality and en- diffusion based models [3,25]. Since these models did not account
ergy efciency [59]. However, continuous application of microwave for the intermittency of microwave power, they do not provide any
energy may overheat the product [21]. To overcome this problem, understanding of the IMCD process.
Intermittent Microwave Convective Drying (IMCD) is practised There are some empirical models available in the literature for
where the heating rate can be controlled by choosing the inter- IMCD [16], however, the empirical models do not help towards
mittency [21,52]. Thus, IMCD can improve both energy efciency optimization and are only applicable for specic experimental
and product quality during drying. Many experimental in- conditions [32,41]. Apart from empirical modelling, there are some
vestigations have highlighted the advantages of IMCD showing diffusion based theoretical models that consider intermittency of
drying time reduction and quality improvement for different food microwave power [21e23,56], however, mass transfer was
products, such as, oregano [48], sage leaves [15], banana [2], and neglected in these models. Moreover, none of these intermittent
pineapple [7]. Being a relatively new technique in food drying, heating models investigated the temperature distribution and
modelling studies of IMCD are very limited. In order to describe the redistribution due to intermittent microwave power, which is
heat and mass transfer process during IMCD, an appropriate model critical for avoiding overheating of food. Therefore, it can be
has to be developed to obtain a better strategy for applying mi- concluded that currently there is no modelling work that can
crowaves and optimizing the process [33]. illustrate the mechanism of heat and mass transfer during IMCD.
The theoretical models of food drying can broadly be catego-
rized into two groups: (1) single phase (diffusion based), (2)
multiphase modes. The single-phase models consider only diffu-
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 61 7 3138 6879; fax: 61 7 3138 1516. sion inside the food product and are unable to provide an under-
E-mail address: (M.A. Karim). standing of other transport mechanism such as pressure driven
1290-0729/ 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314 305

ow and evaporation. Describing all the water transport as diffu- observable phenomenon, it was not taken into consideration in this
sion cannot be justied under all situations [57]. Therefore, multi- study. IMCD itself is a complex model and inclusion of shrinkage
phase models considering transport of liquid water, water vapour would further complicate the simulation of the model. As it is the
and air insider the food materials are more realistic. Although the rst multiphase IMCD model, it is logical that we start with a
nal equations of multiphase models seem to be simple conser- simplied model. It is our assumption that although consideration
vation equations it still provides the more fundamental and of shrinkage may provide better prediction, the trends of transport
convincing basis of transport than single-phase models [13,55]. phenomena would be the same. Therefore, we neglected the
Multiphase models can be categorised into two groups viz. equi- shrinkage in our study to focus more on transport phenomena.
librium and non-equilibrium approach of vapour pressure. In
equilibrium formulations, the vapour pressure, pv, is assumed to be
equal with equilibrium vapour pressure, pv,eq, and vice versa [57]. 2.2. Governing equations
There are some multiphase models considering the equilibrium
approach applied in vacuum drying of wood [51] and convection In this section the mathematical formulation, initial condition,
drying of wood and clay [49,10], microwave spouted bed drying of boundary conditions, and input parameters are presented. It also
apple [18] and large bagasse stockpiles [17]. discusses the heat generation term due to microwave, Qmic (W/m3).
However, equilibrium conditions may not be achieved due to
lower moisture content at the surface during drying. Therefore,
non-equilibrium multiphase models are computationally effective 2.2.1. Mass and momentum balance equations
and applied to a wide range of food processing such as frying [4,38], The representative elementary volume DV (m3) is the sum of the
microwave heating [11,45], pufng [43], baking [58], meat cooking volume of three phases, namely, gas, water, and solid, thus,
[14] etc. However, application of these non-equilibrium models in
drying of food materials is very limited. To the authors' best DV DVg DVw DVs ; (1)
knowledge, not only is there no satisfactory multiphase model,
there is not even a comprehensive single-phase model for IMCD. where DVg is the volume of gas (m3), DVw is the volume of water
The objectives of this study are to: 1) develop a multiphase (m3), and DVs is the volume of solid (m3).
porous media model for IMCD drying of food materials considering The apparent porosity, 4, is dened as the volume fraction
transport of liquid water, vapour and air, 2) validate the model for occupied by gas and water, thus,
the IMCD of an apple slice with experimental moisture and tem-
perature proles, 3) investigate the temperature distribution and DVg DVw
4 : (2)
redistribution due to the intermittency of microwave application, DV
and 4) investigate the transport mechanisms, such as, pressure
driven, binary diffusion and capillary driven ow in IMCD. The water, Sw, and gas, Sg, saturation are dened as the fraction of
pore volume occupied by that particular phase, namely,
2. Mathematical model
Sw ; (3)
In this section, the equations for multiphase porous media are DVw Vg 4DV
developed describing heat, mass and momentum transfer for IMCD.
We also present the transport mechanism involved in drying, as-
sumptions and input parameters for the model. Apple has been
considered as the sample food material for this study. Sg 1  Sw ; (4)
The model developed in this research considers transport of
liquid water, vapour and air inside food materials. The mass and
energy conservation equations include convection, diffusion and
The mass concentrations of water, cw (kg/m3), vapour, cv (kg/
evaporation of water and vapour. The energy equation also includes
m3), and air, ca (kg/m3), are given by,
a microwave heat generation term using Lambert's Law. Mo-
mentum conservation is developed from Darcy's equations. Evap- cw rw 4Sw ; (5)
oration is considered as distributed throughout the domain and a
non-equilibrium evaporation formulation is used for evaporation
pv Mv
condensationecondensation phenomena. cv 4Sg ; (6)
2.1. Problem description and assumptions and

A schematic of the sample together with transport mechanisms pa Ma

involved in drying is presented in Fig. 1. A 2D axisymmetric ge- ca 4Sg ; (7)
ometry of a 3D apple slice is considered for simulation. Heat and
mass transfer takes place at all boundaries except the symmetry respectively. Here, rw is the density of water (kg/m3), R is the uni-
boundary (r 0). The apple slice is considered as a porous media versal gas constant (J/mol/K), and T is the temperature of product
and the pores are lled with three transportable phases, namely, (K), pv is the partial pressure of vapour (Pa), pa is the partial pres-
liquid water, air and water vapour as shown in Fig. 1. All phases sure of air (Pa), Ma and Mv are molar mass of air and vapour
(solid, liquid, and gases) are continuous and local thermal equi- respectively (kg/mol).
librium is assumed, which means that the temperatures in all three The mass conservation equation for liquid water considers gas
phases are equal. Liquid water transport takes place due to pressure driven ow, capillary diffusion, and evaporation of liquid
convective ow resulting from the gas pressure gradient, capillary water to vapour. The detailed derivations of these were presented
ow, and evaporation. Vapour and air transport arises from gas in Ref. [29]. The nal equations for mass concentration of liquid
pressure gradients and binary diffusion. Although shrinkage is an water can be written as,
306 C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314

Fig. 1. Schematic showing 3D sample, 2D axisymmetric domain and representative elementary volume (REV) with the transport mechanism of different phases.

  where rg is the density of gas phase, given by,

v kw kr;w
4Sw rw V$  rw VP  Dc Vcw Revap ; (8)
vt mw
where kw is the intrinsic permeability of water (m ), kr,w is the rg : (12)
relative permeability of water, and mw is the viscosity of water
(Pa s), Dc is the capillary diffusivity (m2/s) [29], P is total gas pres- Here Mg is the molecular weight of gas (kg/mol).
sure (Pa) and Revap is the evaporation rate of liquid water to water
vapour (kg/m3 s).
The mass balance equation for the vapour component of gas 2.2.3. Energy balance equation
phase includes bulk ow, binary diffusion and phase change [6]; Since thermal equilibrium is assumed to exist between all
namely, phases the energy balance equation can be written as [29],
v  kg kr;g
4Sg rg uv V$  rg uv VP  4Sg rg Deff;g Vuv Revap ; vT !
vt mv reff cpeff V$ n g hg n w hw V$ keff VT  hfg Revap
(9) Qmic f t:
where rg is the density of gas (kg/m3), uv is the mass fraction of (13)
vapour, kg is the intrinsic permeability of gas (m2), kr,g is the relative Here T is the temperature (K) of each phases, hg is the enthalpy of
permeability of gas, and mg is the viscosity of gas (Pa s) and Deff,g is gas (J), hw is the enthalpy of water (J), hfg is the latent heat of
the binary diffusivity of vapour and air (m2/s). evaporation (J/kg), reff is the effective density (kg/m3), cpeff is the
The gas phase is a mixture of vapour and air. After calculating effective specic heat (J/kg/K), keff is the effective thermal con-
the mass fraction of vapour, uv, from the above equations, the mass ductivity (W/m/K), Qmic is the microwave heat generation and f(t) is
fraction of air, ua, can be then calculated from the intermittency function as discussed in later section.
! !
The water ux, n w , and vapour ux, n g , can be calculated from
ua 1  uv : (10)
equations (14) and (15) shown below:

! kg kr;g
2.2.2. Mass balance equations for gas phase n g rg uv VP  4Sg rg Deff;g Vuv ; (14)
The total gas pressure, P, is calculated by solving the overcall
mass balance for the gas phase, namely, ! kw kr;w
  n w rw VP  Dc Vcw : (15)
v  kg kr;g mw
rg 4Sg  V$ rg VP Revap ; (11)
vt mi The thermo-physical properties change due to the change in
mass and volume fraction in each phase. Therefore, the following
C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314 307

equations have been used to obtain the actual effective properties

taking mass and volume changes into consideration: cwt0 rw 4Sw0 ; (25)
reff 4 Sg rg Sw rw 1  4rs ; (16) wvt0 0:0262; (26)
cpeff mg ug cpg ua cpa mw cpw ms cps ; (17) Pt0 Pamb ; (27)

and and
keff 4 Sg kth;g Sw kth;w 1  4kth;s : (18) Tt0 303 K; (28)

Here rs is the solid density (kg/m3); cpg, cpw and cps are the specic respectively.
heat capacities of gas, water and solid (J/kg/K), respectively; kth,g,
kth,w and kth,s are the thermal conductivities of gas, water and solid, 2.5. Boundary conditions
(W/m/K) respectively; mg, mw and ms are the mass fraction of gas,
water and solid, (W/m/K) respectively. The heat and mass transfer takes place at the transport
boundaries as shown in Fig. 1. The boundary conditions for Equa-
2.3. Evaporation rate tions (8) and (9) can be written as,

A non-equilibrium formulation as described in Ref. [39] is ! pv  pv air

n w;s hmv 4Sw ; (29)
considered to calculate the evaporation rate, namely, RT

! pv  pv air
Revap Kevap pv;eq  pv : (19) n v;s hmv 4Sg ; (30)
Here Mv is the molecular weight of vapour (kg/mol), pv,eq is the respectively, where pv,air vapour pressure of ambient air (Pa) and
equilibrium vapour pressure (Pa), pv is the vapour pressure (Pa), hmv is the mass transfer coefcient (m/s).
and Kevap is evaporation constant (1/s). The boundary condition for continuity equation (11) can be
The equilibrium vapour pressure, pv,eq, is obtained via the expressed as,
sorption isotherm of apple given by Ratti et al. [46] as,
 P Pamb ; (31)
pv;eq Pv;sat Texp  0:182Mdb
 where Pamb is the ambient pressure (Pa).
0:232e43:949M Mdb
lnPsat T ; (20) For Equation (13), the boundary condition is given by,

pv  pv air
and the saturated vapour pressure of water, Pv,sat (Pa), is a function qsurf hT T  Tair  hmv 4Sw hfg
of temperature and is given by Vega-Mercado et al. [53] as, RT
pv  pv air
h hmv 4Sg Cp;v T; (32)
Pv;sat exp  5800:2206=T 1:3915  0:0486T 0:4176 RT
where hT is the heat transfer coefcient (W/m2/K) and Tair is the
 104 T 2  0:01445  107 T 3 6:656 lnT :
drying air temperature (K), and Cp,v is the specic heat of vapour at
(21) constant volume (J/kg/K).
The heat and mass transfer coefcients were calculated from
The vapour pressure, pv, is obtained from partial pressure re-
well established empirical relationship as discussed in authors'
lations given by,
previous publications [27,30,34,41].
pv cv P; (22)
2.6. Input parameters
where cv is the mole fraction of vapour given by,
The input parameters of the model are listed in Table 1 and some
uv Ma of them are derived and discussed in the latter of this section.
cv : (23)
uv Ma ua Mv
Here Ma is the molecular mass of air (kg/mol). 2.6.1. Calculation of ambient vapour pressure
The moisture content (dry basis), Mdb can be calculated from, The partial pressure of vapour in ambient condition can be
calculated by pv,amb RH  psat. In our experiment the ambient air
cw cv of RH 70% and 30  C was heated up to 60  C with specic hu-
Mdb : (24)
1  4rs midity of 0.0188 kg/kg db. This condition yields a relative humidity
of 15% using the psychometric chart. Therefore, ambient vapour
pressure for drying air, pv,amb 0.15  19,947 2992 Pa.

2.4. Initial conditions

2.6.2. Permeability
The initial conditions for equations (8), (9), (11) and (13) are The intrinsic permeability of water is considered as a function of
given by, porosity by Kozeny-Carman model [19] as,
308 C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314

Table 1 and
Input properties for the model.
Parameter Value Reference T
mg 0:017  103 ; (38)
Sample diameter, Dias 40 mm This work 273
Sample thickness, Ths 10 mm This work
Equivalent porosity, initial, 40 0.922 [37,42] respectively.
Water saturation, initial, Sw0 0.794 [37,42]
Initial saturation of vapour, Sv0 0.15 [37,42]
Gas saturation, initial, Sg0 0.206 [37,42]
Initial temperature, T0 303 K 2.6.4. Effective gas diffusivity
Vapour mass fraction, wv 0.026 Calculated The effective gas diffusivity can be calculated as a function of gas
saturation and porosity according to the Bruggeman correction
[37], namely,
Evaporation constant, Kevap 1000 This work
Drying air temperature, Tair 333 K This work  4=3
Universal gas constant, Rg 8.314 J mol1 K1 [9] Deff;g Dva Sg 4 ; (39)
Molecular weight of water, Mw 18.016 g mol1 [9]
Molecular weight of vapour, Mv 18.016 g mol1 [9]
where Dva is the binary diffusivity between air and water vapour
Molecular weight of gas (air), Ma 28.966 g mol1 [9]
Latent heat of evaporation, hfg 2.26e6 J kg1 [9]
Ambient pressure, Pamb 101,325 Pa [9]
Gas intrinsic permeability, kg 4.0  1012 m2 [19]
Binary diffusivity, Dva 2.6  106 m2/s [13]
2.6.5. Capillary diffusivity of liquid water
Ambient vapour pressure, pv,air 2992 Pa Calculated
Heat transfer coefcient, hT 16.746 W/(m2 K) Calculated Capillary diffusivity of liquid water used in the model is a
Mass transfer coefcient, hm 0.017904 m/s Calculated function of moisture content is given by [29],

Thermo-physical properties Dc 108 exp6:88 8Mwb : (40)

Specic heat
1 1
Apple solid, Cps 3734 J kg K Measured The relationship between dry basis moisture content, Mdb, and
Water, Cpw 4183 J kg1 K1 [8] wet basis moisture content, Mwb, is given by,
Vapour, Cpv 1900 J kg1 K1 [8]
Air, Cpa 1005.68 J kg1 K1 [8] Mwb
Mdb : (41)
Thermal conductivity 1  Mwb
1 1
Apple solid, kth,s 0.46 W m K [12]
Gas, kth,g 0.026 W m1 K1 [44]
Water, kth,w 0.644 W m1 K1 [44]

Apple solid, rs 1419 kg m3 This study 2.7. Microwave power absorption
Vapour, rv Ideal gas law, kg m3
Air, ra Ideal gas law, kg m3
Water, rw 1000 kg m3 Lamberts Law has been widely used for developing microwave
heating models in literature [1,3,25,28,36,47,60]. In this study, we
also used Lambert's Law to calculate the microwave energy ab-
43 sorption inside the food samples. This law considers exponential
kw 5:578  1012 ; 0:39 < 4 < 0:77: (33) attenuation of microwave absorption within the product, given by,
1  42
The gas intrinsic permeability is considered to be constant and is Pmic P0 exp2ahz : (42)
given by [19],
Here P0 the incident power at the surface (W), a is the attenuation
kg 4:0  1012 m2 : (34) constant, h is the thickness of the material, and (h  z) is the dis-
tance from top surface (towards centre). The measurement of P0 via
In this study, the relative permeabilities were considered as a experiments is presented in authors' previous publication [30].
function of water saturation given by [19], The attenuation constant, a is given by,

kr;w S3w ; (35) u 2s
u 00
u 6 1 33 0  17
2p u 0 6 7
and a u3 6 7; (43)
l t 4 6 2 7
kr;g 1:01e10:86Sw ; (36)

respectively. where l is the wavelength of microwave in free space (l 12.24 cm

at 2450 MHz and air temperature 20  C) and 3 0 and 3 00 are the
2.6.3. Viscosity of water and gas dielectric constant and the dielectric loss, respectively.
Viscosities of water [50] and gas [20] as a function of tempera- The volumetric heat generation, Qmic (W/m3) is then calcu-
ture are given by, lated by;
T Qmic ; (44)
mw rw e (37) V

where V is the volume of the sample (m3).

C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314 309

2.8. Dielectric constant and tempering period by placing the camera 10 cm above the
The dielectric constant, 3 0 and dielectric loss, 3 00 , are the most
important parameters that control the microwave power absorp- 3.4. Numerical solution
tion of the materials. Here we use the data of Martn-Esparza et al.
[35] in a quadratic regression analysis in which the intercept of the Engineering simulation software COMSOL Multiphysics 4.4 was
0 00
3 and 3 versus Mwb graph was set to 0.1 in order to avoid numerical used to solve the equations. COMSOL is an advanced software tool
singularity in 3 0 and 3 00 when Mwb is zero. The resulting quadratic used for modelling and simulating any physical process described
expression is found to be, by partial derivative equations.
Combinations of a rectangular function and an analytic function
0 2
3 36:638Mwb 30:289Mwb 0:1 (45) in COMSOL Multiphysics were used to develop an intermittency
function as shown in Fig. 2. Then it was multiplied with the heat
and generation term in the energy equations to implement intermit-
tency of the microwave heat source.
3 13:543Mwb 26:8150Mwb 0:1: (46) Since heat and mass transport phenomena is happening at the
transport boundaries as shown in Fig. 1, a ner mesh (maximum
element size 0.1 mm) was chosen at those boundaries to capture
this phenomena more accurately. The ner mesh at the boundary
3. Materials and methods
help to converge the solution and investigate the physics more
accurately. On the other hand, rest of the region of the domain left
In this section, we discuss the experimental IMCD procedures,
with normal mesh (coarser than boundary) because ner mesh
sample preparation, and data acquisition method.
throughout the domain will increase the computational cost and
time. To ensure that the results are grid-independent, several grid
3.1. IMCD
sensitivity tests were conducted. Finer mesh than the chosen one
shown in Fig. 3, showed similar results. Therefore, the mesh size
The IMCD was achieved using a microwave oven and a con-
0.1 mm at the boundary was chosen to capture the transport
vection dryer. The sample was placed in the microwave oven for
phenomena while minimizing the computational time and cost.
20 s followed by convection drying, for 80 s, in the convection dryer.
The time stepping was set to be 1 s. The simulation was per-
The experiments were conducted with a Panasonic Microwave
formed using a Windows 7 computer with Intel Core i7 CPU,
Oven (Model NNST663W) having inverter technology with internal
3.4 GHz processor and 24 GB of RAM. Direct solver PARDISO was
cavity dimension 352 mm (W)  230 mm (H)  347 mm (D) and a
used in order to obtain faster solution and solve complex coupling
convection dryer. The inverter technology enables accurate and
of the model.
continuous power supply at lower power settings [40]. The mi-
crowave oven is able to supply 10 accurate power levels with a
4. Results and discussion
maximum of 1100 W at 2.45 GHz frequency. The apple slices were
placed in the centre of the microwave cavity, in order to achieve an
In this section, the results of the theoretical and experimental
even absorption of microwave energy.
In order to get the intermittency of the microwave power investigations are given. Experimental data was also used to vali-
date the model developed. Specically, moisture content and
application, the sample was placed in MW for 20 s after the con-
vection drying for 80 s. The moisture loss was recorded at regular temperature obtained from experiments were compared with that
of the model. Moreover, spatial and temporal proles of moisture,
intervals at the end of each tempering period with a digital balance
(specication: 0.001 g accuracy). temperature, evaporation rate, pressure and, uxes are also
3.2. Sample preparation
4.1. Moisture content and temperature
Fresh Granny Smith apples obtained from the local Australian
supermarkets were used for the intermittent microwave drying The prole of average moisture content obtained from simula-
experiments. The samples were stored at 5 1  C to keep them as tion and experiments is presented in Fig. 4. The model provided a
fresh as possible before they were used in the experiments. The
apples taken from the storage unit were washed and put aside for
1 h to allow their temperature to equilibrate to room temperature
prior to each drying experiment. The samples were cut into disks
with a thickness of 10 mm and diameter of approximately 40 mm.
The initial moisture content of the apple slices was approximately
0.868 kg/kg (wet basis.) or 6.61 kg/kg (dry basis).

3.3. Temperature measurement

A Flir i7 (FLIR instrument, UK) thermal imaging camera was used

to measure the temperature distribution on the surface. Accurate
measurement of temperature by thermal imaging camera depends
on the emissivity values. The emissivity value for apple was found
in the range between 0.94 and 0.97 [24] and set at 0.95 in the
camera before taking images. Temperatures of the top surface were
taken by thermal image camera soon after the microwave heating Fig. 2. Intermittency function.
310 C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314

the higher microwave power absorption at early stage of drying

results higher pressure driven ow towards the surface. This result
indicates invaluable evidence signifying that by supplying more
drying air during the initial stage of IMCD, the excess moisture at
the surface can be removed. Thus, the drying rate can be further
improved. Similar higher saturation in microwave heating was
found by Wei et al. [54], throughout the heating period. Since they
neglected mass transfer, the phenomena persisted throughout the
process, whereas in the case of drying, this phenomenon lasted
only for short time period (approximately between 1e400 s). After
400 s, the surface showed minimum moisture content.
The vapour mass fractions in different time periods are illus-
trated in Fig. 6. Similar to convection drying [31], the vapour mass
Fig. 3. Mesh for the simulation.
fraction at any instant decreases gradually with distance from the
centre, and at any position the vapour mass fraction increases
quite satisfactory match with the experimental result (with steadily with time. This behaviour is similar with vapour density
R2 0.99359). It can be seen from Fig. 4 that moisture content (dry obtained by Wei et al. [54] in microwave heating. The vapour mass
basis) of apple slice dropped from its initial of 6.6 kg/kg to 4.5 kg/kg fractions decrease more sharply near the surface, which will result
after 1200 s of IMCD. in greater vapour diffusive ow and this will be discussed in
The temperature at the centre of the top surface obtained from respective sections. It is crucial to note that the vapour mass frac-
experiments and simulation at selected times are compared in tion is higher in IMCD (~0.14), compared to convection drying
Table 2. The model shows good agreement with experimental with (~0.06), because of higher vapour generation in IMCD.
the presented values. However, at the beginning of drying, the
predicted temperature was lower than the experimental. This could 4.3. Temperature prole
be due to the limitation of Lambert's Law as discussed later in the
section and no-shrinkage assumption of the material. Moreover, Fig. 7 shows the temperature prole at the surface and centre of
The table shows that the temperature reached about and above the material. It can be seen that the temperature uctuates for both
60  C after each heating cycles (320 s, 420 s etc.) and then drops to positions (on the surface and at the centre) because it rises during
about 50  C after each tempering periods (400 s, 500 s etc.). the time microwave is on (e.g. 20 s, 120 s etc.) and drops after the
tempering periods (100 s, 200 s etc.). It also shows that the tem-
perature increases after each cycle. However, this increase and the
4.2. Distribution and evolution of water and vapour uctuations of temperature can be controlled by changing the
tempering period (intermittency).
Predicted distributions of liquid saturation within the sample at Another interesting result to emerge from the gure is that the
different time intervals are presented in Fig. 5. It can be seen that interior temperature is higher than the surface at the beginning of
unlike the convection drying [31], the liquid saturation is slightly the drying (approximately about for 15 min). This could be due to
higher close to the surface than its adjacent points towards the core higher evaporative cooling phenomena [34]. Ni [37] also found
at the beginning of drying. This could be due to the excess amount lower temperature at the surface compared to the centre during
of liquid water migrating toward the surface at the beginning. Also, microwave heating simulation using Lambert's Law. Further,
experimental evidence of higher centre temperature was obtained
by Gunasekaran and Yang [22].

4.4. Gas pressure

The pressure distribution of the gas phase within the sample is

shown in Fig. 8. The gas pressure is found to be a maximum at the
centre and gradually decreases towards the surfaces. Due to lower
gas porosity, the transport of gas is restricted. Because of the
reduction in gas porosity, relative gas permeability is also reduced
(according to equation (36)). Thus the overall gas permeability
(product of intrinsic permeability and relative permeability) is
reduced resulting in lower transport of gas. Therefore, the gas
generated at the centre contributes to a rise in total gas pressure.
Although the moisture reduction increases the gas porosity, the
amount of migration from the centre is lower in that time period. In
microwave heating, the similar higher pressure in the interior was
found in literature [18,54].

4.5. Vapour pressure, equilibrium vapour pressure, and saturated


Fig. 9 represents the comparison between vapour pressure,

equilibrium vapour pressure and saturated vapour pressure at the
Fig. 4. Comparison between predicted and experimental values of average moisture surface. The saturated vapour pressure varies with temperature
content during drying. and data is available from many sources. The saturated vapour
C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314 311

Table 2
Comparison of experimental and model temperature at centre of top surface at different times.

Time (s) 320 400 420 500 520 600 620 700 720 800

Microwave power On Off On Off On Off On Off On Off

Experimental temperature 60.0 50.0 62.0 51.0 64.0 51.8 64.7 47.0 62.0 45.9
Model temperature 58.9 51.1 61.0 52.5 62.3 52.8 63.7 55.0 65.0 55.1

Fig. 5. Spatial distribution of water saturation with times.

pressure obtained from simulation is compared with literature [9] Fig. 7. Comparison of surface temperature between experimental and model.
and found to be consistent with available data. The equilibrium
vapour pressure is calculated from the sorption isotherm of apple
and, as expected, it was found to be lower than the saturation 4.6. Evaporation
vapour pressure. Fig. 9 shows that the difference between vapour
pressure and equilibrium vapour pressure is higher during the Evaporation is zero in the inner part of the sample (as shown
initial stage of drying resulting higher evaporation. Unlike the in Fig. 10), as the equilibrium nature of vapour pressure, due to
convection drying [29,31], the vapour pressure uctuates due to the higher moisture content, exists in the inner part of the sample. In
uctuation in temperature resulting from the intermittent micro- contrast to this, higher evaporation near the surface indicates
wave heat source. Moreover, Fig. 9 shows that the equilibrium that a non-equilibrium condition exists on the surface (as shown
vapour pressure in IMCD is much higher (14 kPa) compared to that in Fig. 10). It is found that the evaporation starts about 1 mm
of the convection drying (3 kPa) after drying time of 10 min [29,31]. beneath the surface and the evaporation rate increases as it
This is because of the higher temperature due to microwave heat moves towards the surface. This is because the difference be-
generation. However, after some time, the vapour pressure and tween equilibrium vapour pressure and vapour pressure starts
equilibrium vapour pressure coincide because the surface becomes about 1 mm beneath the surface and that increases with the
dried and equilibrium vapour pressure becomes lower. move towards the surface.

Fig. 8. Spatial distribution of total pressure across the half thickness the sample in
Fig. 6. Spatial distribution of vapour with different times. different times.
312 C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314

Fig. 11. Spatial distribution of evaporation rate at different drying times.

Fig. 9. Vapour pressure, equilibrium vapour pressure and saturation pressure at
higher temperature at the centre. The surface vapour can easily be
transported to surroundings and therefore, the vapour pressure at
It is noted here that the magnitude of evaporation rate decreases the surface is very close to the ambient vapour pressure.
with time in convection drying [29,31], whereas, in IMCD, the
magnitude of evaporation increases with time (Fig. 10). This is
because the temperature in IMCD is much higher compared to 4.8. Vapour and water uxes
convection drying.
A remarkable result to emerge from the graph is that after Moisture uxes due to capillary diffusion and gas pressure
1000 s of IMCD the evaporation drops abruptly at the surface gradient are presented in Figs. 12 and 13, respectively. It can be seen
after reaching a peak at about 0.5 mm beneath the surface. The that the moisture ux due to capillary diffusion is approximately
reason is that the moisture content reduces to nearly zero (as can three times higher (Fig. 12) when compared to convection drying
be seen from Fig. 5) after 1000 s which makes the equilibrium [29]. This is mainly due to the increase in concentration gradient
vapour pressure equal to vapour pressure resulting drops in resulted from the faster drying rate in IMCD as compared to con-
evaporations. vection drying.
The most striking feature comes from the results is that the
water ux due to gas pressure in IMCD (Fig. 13) is approximately 10
4.7. Vapour pressure distribution times higher than that in convection drying [29]. This higher
transport of the moisture to the surface is eventually being evap-
Vapour pressure distribution within the sample at different orated at the surface, which is the main reason behind the signif-
times is shown in Fig. 11. It shows that vapour pressure is higher in icant reduction in drying time during IMCD.
the interior of the sample with the maximum at the centre. Vapour Figs. 14 and 15 show the spatial distribution of diffusive and
pressure at the centre is expected to have a higher value due to the convective uxes of vapour, respectively. The gures show that the

Fig. 10. Spatial distribution of evaporation rate at different drying times. Fig. 12. Water ux due to capillary at different drying times.
C. Kumar et al. / International Journal of Thermal Sciences 104 (2016) 304e314 313

Fig. 15. Vapour ux due to gas pressure at different drying times.

Fig. 13. Water ux due to gas pressure at different drying times.

Therefore, when the surface becomes dry, the microwave absorp-

vapour uxes from both sources (diffusion and convection) are tion should be less. Lamberts law fails to take this into account,
higher near the surface with zero in the core region. This can be giving always highest power at the surface, irrespective of moisture
interpreted from Fig. 6, as it shows that the gradient of vapour is content. Using Maxwell's equations of electromagnetic eld and
very high near the surface thus causing higher diffusive ux. Wei power absorption provide better and accurate heat generation due
et al. [54] also found higher vapour ux near the surface of the to microwaves.
sample during microwave heating. Moreover, the vapour ux due
to binary diffusion and pressure gradient are about 10 times higher 5. Conclusions
when compared to convention drying.
A non-equilibrium multiphase porous media model has been
developed for IMCD for food. This model is rst of its kind as a
4.9. Limitation of Lambert's law
multiphase model has not been implemented before for IMCD. The
model was validated by comparing experimental moisture and
Since this study is the rst attempt of using multiphase porous
temperature data, which demonstrated good agreement except for
media to model for IMCD, it considered Lamberts Law for micro-
some discrepancy in temperature at the beginning. This discrep-
wave power absorption. However, some limitations of using Lam-
ancy in temperature prediction could be due Lambert's Law
bert's Law have been observed during the simulations. Lambert's
approximation or no-shrinkage assumption. The IMCD drying is
law for power absorption due to microwave energy cannot capture
much faster than the convection drying, and the reason behind this
the uneven distribution, as it considers power absorption on the
was investigated by analysing the relative contribution of various
surface or on any other horizontal plane is uniform, which is not the
modes of transport. It showed that the water ux due to capillary is
actual case. This study revealed another limitation of Lambert's
three times higher and due to gas pressure gradient is ten times
Law, which was not mentioned before in the literature; namely, the
higher when compared to convection drying. On the other hand,
power absorption at the surface is always the maximum regardless
the vapour uxes due to diffusion and gas pressure is about ten
of the moisture content. It is well known that moisture or dipolar
times higher than for convection drying. The fundamental basis of
materials are mainly responsible for microwave absorption [26].
the model enables us to enhance the understanding of drying ki-
netics and transport of heat and mass of IMCD.


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