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Microwave modeling and validation in food thawing applications.

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University of Greenwich, Park Row, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom.


Developing temperature fields in frozen cheese sauce undergoing microwave heating were simulated and measured. Two scenarios were investigated: a centric and offset placement on the rotating turntable. Numerical modeling was performed using a dedicated electromagnetic Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) module that was two-way coupled to the PHYSICA multiphysics package. Two meshes were used: the food material and container were meshed for the heat transfer and the microwave oven cavity and waveguide were meshed for the microwave field. Power densities obtained on the structured FDTD mesh were mapped onto the unstructured finite volume method mesh for each time-step/turntable position. On heating for each specified time-step the temperature field was mapped back onto the FDTD mesh and the electromagnetic properties were updated accordingly. Changes in thermal/electric properties associated with the phase transition were fully accounted for as well as heat losses from product to cavity. Detailed comparisons were carried out for the centric and offset placements, comparing experimental temperature profiles during microwave thawing with those obtained by numerical simulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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