Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

PARTE 1

Pgina 1 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction and Scope of Report
The desire for more efficient drying and improved product quality has resulted in the evelopment
of new techniques and types of dryer in recent years to replace older forms of drying. One such
technique applicable to non-metallic materials utilises the volumetric absorption of
electromagnetic energy generated at radio(rf) or microwave(mw) frequencies, Figure 1.1,
nowadays referred to as dielectric heating. Although the hardware and actual methods of
generating the electromagnetic energy at rf or microwave frequencies differ considerably, as far
as the process engineer is concerned, rf and microwave heating can both be considered as
techniques which provide volumetric heat transfer. The choice between rf or microwaves in a
given situation will largely be decided by whether or not the rf or microwave technique can
provide the required power density and whether the shape and size of the material to be dried
can be accommodated: larger power densities can he achieved with microwaves while rf
techniques are generally more flexible in terms of product shape and size.

Figure 1.1 a) The electromagnetic spectrum b) Definition of the various frequencies used
comprising 869 Mhz (UK) and 915 Mhz (USA) bands
Pgina 2 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The physical mechanism which allows electromagnetic radiation to be converted into heat is due
to the ability of dipolar liquids, such as water, and liquids containing dissolved solids to absorb
electromagnetic energy generated at these frequencies. In contrast to all conventional means of
heating the energy is transferred directly to the entire volume of the wet material and does not
rely on heat conduction from its surface to the interior. The temperature is greatest in the centre
of the product so that the temperature gradient is directed outwards. This assists internal mass
transfer in both the liquid and vapour phases. Internal evaporation can occur which leads to
pressure driven mass transfer which in the vapour phase is much quicker than by diffusion. By
using appropriate methods the heating can be applied so that the wettest parts of the material
absorb the most energy and in this way initial non-uniformities in moisture content can be levelled
out. The above characteristics of dielectric heating as applied to drying can lead to improvements
in product quality. In addition it will be seen that the technique offers a number of advantages
over conventional drying related, for example, to the efficiency of heat transfer, improvements in
the working environment and reductions in required manpower.
The main drawback of dielectric heating, as seen by many potential users, is the large capital cost
which typically can range from about 1000 to 10000 pounds per installed kilowatt of high
frequency energy output. However, the improvements and benefits of this form of drying can be
so dramatic as to far outweigh the high initial capital cost. As will be seen the decision to use
these forms of drying must balance the higher initial capital cost against the savings which can
result from the advantages of the technique. For this reason the application of dielectric beating is
very much dependent upon the characteristics of the particular product under consideration, for
example,

The value of the dried product,


The drying characteristics and
The importance of quality.

The correct assessment of this technique will therefore fall predominantly to the potential user,
who alone knows the importance of these factors, rather than the equipment manufacturer. lt is
here that the first difficulty for the chemical or mechanical engineer can arise, namely the
unfamiliarity with electrical principles, the vocabulary used and the techniques employed.
It might be thought that the details of the electrical aspects of the rf and mw dryers are of little
concern to the process engineer in much the same way as the details of, say, a gas burner are
not vital to the understanding of the workings of a convective dryer. This view is not correct
because by their nature the operation and functioning of rf and microwave dryers are dependent
upon the material which is placed inside the drying oven. To be realistic, on first encountering
these methods of drying there is probably not the time, need, or inclination to examine the
electrical aspects in any depth. However, any organisation which is seriously considering
adopting these techniques is well advised to have someone who is prepared to delve beyond the
elementary level. Unfortunately much of the existing literature which adequately explains the
principles in a simple manner does not go any further. Equally frustrating are the more advanced
texts which although dealing with the heating rather than the telecommunication side of
electromagnetics are written more from the stand point of the electrical engineer.
The aim of the present report is to bridge the gap by covering both aspects: the electrical
fundamentals and techniques, and information on the heat and mass transfer appropriate to
drying. The report will concentrate on drying operations where dielectric heating is either the
principal source of energy for drying, or where it is used with conventional convective heat
transfer. Of course other combinations are possible, for example contact heating, but at present
these are not used industrially.
Pgina 3 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Whilst practical details on the circuit elements are given so that the reader can go further than the
introductory stage, this work is not intended as a design report.
The history of dielectric heating has been a chequered one. The early predictions of possible
markets were over optimistic and did not reflect the limitations due to high capital cost. In the
fifties and early sixties many large international corporations, had an industrial heating division
which, with a few exceptions, could not pay its way. The result was the abandonment of dielectric
heating for more profitable areas and the emergence of a number of small firms, often consisting
of former staff from the big companies, which were able to operate much more successfully.
Microwave heating manufacturers became versatile at the "one off" application while the leading
rf manufacturer recognised the potential of the textile industry for dielectric drying. A healthy trend
recently is the involvement of manufacturers of both handling and conventional drying equipment,
either in collaboration with rf or microwave companies, or as original equipment manufacturers of
dielectric dryers.

1.2 Outline of the Report


In view of the unfamiliarity of dielectric drying the usual format for SPS reports has not been
followed. Instead the main body of the report has been divided into three principal parts, preceded
by Section 2 which examines the feasibility of using dielectric drying for a given material. This is
included at the outset so that the likelihood of using the technique in a given situation can be
assessed without the need to read through the rest of the report. Inevitably, introducing this
chapter before the background material has been presented necessitates the reader taking some
of the points on trust since they are not covered in detail until later in the report. However it is
hoped that given this proviso the chapter is largely self contained.
The first part of the report covers the science related to the heat and mass transfer. Since the use
of dielectric drying depends fundamentally on the ability of the wet material to absorb
electromagnetic energy this topic is discussed first (Part 2 Section 1). A relatively simple physical
picture is given of the dielectric properties of wet materials which give rise to energy absorption.
Typical data are presented to give a feel for the magnitudes involved.
The industrial use of rf and mw drying is largely due to the benefits which can be obtained from
the different modes of heat and mass transfer. For this reason the chapter on heat and mass
transfer concentrates on introducing the various drying regimes and characteristics obtained with
this form of drying, (Part 2 Section 2). This is achieved by using simplified modelling and
representative results for the drying kinetics. No exhaustive catalogue of drying data has been
attempted or thought necessary.
The third part of the report deals with the various types of commercial rf and mw dryer currently
available. Leaving aside the electrical aspects of these dryers, it will be seen that the dryers are
comparatively simple in engineering terms and there is not too much to say about them. Sections
1 and 3, in Part 3, cover rf and microwave dryers respectively in which electromagnetic power is
the principal energy source for drying. The specialised but important area of microwave vacuum
drying is discussed in Part 3 Section 4. Combinational drying with convective heat transfer and rf
or mw power is described in Part 3 Section 6. In describing the dryers, examples have been taken
from specific areas of application so that in addition to describing the specifications of the dryer,
the reasons and advantages for using dielectric drying in actual applications, rather than in just
general terms, can be seen. Operating characteristics and experience are discussed for the
various dryers. In Part 3 Sections 2 and 5 the hardware associated with the kind of rf and
microwave circuits used in dielectric dryers is introduced and discussed.
Pgina 4 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Since some of the electrical terminology is likely to be unfamiliar a glossary of terms has been
included as Appendix 2 in Part 5, and where appropriate the relevant Section from Part 4 of the
report, which deals with the electromagnetic principles, is shown in brackets beside the section
heading. Part 4 of the report which deals with the electrical aspects of the rf and microwave
dryers will probably prove the most demanding, not because the subject matter is difficult, but
rather because it is unfami1iar. The subject matter covered in these chapters is too broad to be
absorbed in one reading and indeed it is not necessary to cover all the topics. For the reader
interested in rf drying, Part 4 Section 1 on resonant circuits is sufficient for a first reading while for
those interested in microwave drying Part 4 Sections 2 and 3 should be read with occasional
reference to resonant circuits as described in Part 4 Section 1. The outline of these chapters is as
follows. After introducing some elementary concepts for electrical circuits the subject of resonant
circuits, the basic "building blocks" for rf and mw generators, are discussed in detail in Part `4
Section 1. Then the changes which occur as the frequency of the operation is increased to radio
and microwave frequencies are discussed and the transition from a description of the circuits in
terms of currents and voltages to electric and magnetic fields is made in Section 2. This wave
concept is then used to describe the characteristics of microwave circuits in Section 3.
Finally, in the conclusions and recommendations (Part 4 Section 4) the gaps in present
knowledge are outlined and possible areas for future work are suggested.
In view of the fact that many symbols commonly used for electromagnetics and heat and mass
transfer are similar, they have been presented on a chapter by chapter basis to avoid any
confusion.

Pgina 5 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

2. FEASIBILITY OF DIELECTRIC HEATING FOR


DRYING OPERATIONS
2.1 Introduction
Before becoming too involved with the principles and techniques of radio and microwave heating
it is as well to have some idea of the feasibility of these methods. This will depend on purely
technical matters concerned with

Whether or not the material in question can absorb electromagnetic energy


Whether the evaporative capacity can be met with available equipment
Considerations of the general overall process and drying requirements for the given
product
The extent to which these influence decisions concerning capital and running costs.

First of all, the requirements which the overall process and final product place on the drying
operation will be discussed on the assumption that the process is technically feasible. These
technical aspects are then dealt with and the advantages which have been found using rf and mw
techniques are catalogued and possible disadvantages are listed and put into perspective. Finally
dryer design and the choice between rf and microwave drying are discussed.
It was thought important to place such a chapter early on in the report for those readers who may
wish to see if dielectric techniques are relevant in a specific application before actually committing
themselves to reading the whole report. Some readers may feel that certain points are not
discussed fully and inevitably some questions will be raised. Further details are to be found in
later parts of the report.
The Electricity Council Research Centre (ECRC) receives many enquiries concerning dielectric
drying and it will perhaps be helpful to describe how a typical enquiry is progressed to illustrate
the decision making process which takes place. The initial contact is often limited to a telephone
call. We try to establish the throughput of material, the inlet and outlet moisture contents and the
nature of the wet product. With this information it is possible to give some idea of the power
required, a rough estimate of the capital cost, an indication as to whether the wet product can
absorb rf or microwave energy and if this form of drying will he suitable. For example, will the
product temperature at which the drying takes place be too high. If one of the above points does
not rule out the rf or microwave process then the next step is usually to undertake some drying
tests on relatively small samples, 0.1-10 kg, using laboratory size rigs with typical power outputs
of 0.1-5 kW. These tests can he carried out by ECRC or an equipment manufacturer and should
give some feel for the drying characteristics, the technical feasibility and the extent of any
development work which could be required. The equipment used at this stage will generally not
be optimised for the product concerned and consequently the results obtained will not be the best
possible although they should give some indication of the potential, or lack of it, of the technique
for the product concerned. After this, the company which made the enquiry takes the results away
to carry out its own evaluation. The enquiry might not proceed further, the economics are wrong,
the drying characteristics even when taking into account the preliminary nature of the tests might
not be suitable, or for internal reasons the company might not wish to proceed further even
though the process looks feasible.
If the initial tests are promising, often the next step is to carry out further tests aimed at improving
on the first results to enable better estimates to be made for the envisaged process. Such tests
Pgina 6 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


might be carried out on laboratory, or pilot size equipment which, where possible, should bear
some resemblance to the dryer which could be finally used. Once these tests have been
conducted the potential user must again evaluate the results. This stage may be repeated until
the user feels satisfied that a meaningful evaluation can be made, after which the project, if it
proceeds further, is now largely in the hands of the equipment manufacturer. In view of the fact
that this technique is still under-exploited, the probability that some development work is
necessary, even if this might only mean adapting an existing design of dryer, is quite high. Since
most rf or microwave heating manufacturers are relatively small in terms of personnel, the
potential user should be prepared to participate in such work. Clearly it is important to establish
from the outset the likely extent of any development work.
A brief description of the most common forms of rf and mw dryer is in order so that the decisions
on feasibility can be related to actual systems.
Radio and microwave frequency equipment can only be operated at specific statutory frequencies
so that there is no interference with telecommunications. The most widely used frequencies are
27.12, 13.56 MHZ (rf) and 2450, 896/915 Mz (mw) although the latter microwave frequency range
is not permitted in many countries. The most common forms of dielectric dryers are tunnel dryers
consisting of a metal box into which microwave energy is launched or alternatively in which rf
voltages are excited across the plates of a capacitor which holds the material to be dried. The
material to be processed passes through the dryer ,in a conveyor belt. The drying cabinet must
be of metal construction, essentially an enclosed box with metal ducts for product entrance and
exit ports, so that the electromagnetic fields and large voltages are confined within the dryer away
from personnel.
In the case of an rf dryer, the generator which produces the rf power from the mains supply is
often positioned beside the dryer or mounted directly on top of the cabinet. It is contained within a
metal box with the connections to the capacitor in the dryer cabinet likewise enclosed for safety.
The voltage applied across the capacitor plates produces an electric field in the material to be
dried. The response of the moisture to this applied field results in energy absorption and
dissipation as heat. A single rf dryer unit or module consists of one dryer cabinet and generator
which uses a single triode valve to produce the high frequency electrical currents and voltages.
Commonly, the rf power available is in the range of 1-10OkW depending on the valve used but
powers up to 600klJ are possible. Modules are often combined to increase the overall power
available for a given application. An outline of an rf dryer is shown in Figure 2.1a. Figure 2.lb
shows three modules combined in series.

Pgina 7 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.1 a) Schematic of an RF dryer b) Dryer modules combined in series


A common form of industrial microwave dryer is based on a "multimode oven" which in essence is
a larger version of the domestic microwave oven. A schematic of such a dryer is shown in Figure
2.2. The entrance and exit ports act as attenuators to limit the microwave intensity, if any, at the
mouth of the ports to safe levels. The power source, a magnetron valve, can be mounted directly
onto the oven cabinet or can be located a few metres away in which case the microwave energy
is transmitted from the generator to the dryer inside metal pipes known as wave guides and
launched into the oven bv various means. The electromagnetic waves within the oven propagate
through the wet material exciting the water molecules which extract energy from the wave and
dissipate it as heat.

Pgina 8 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.2 Multimode microwave oven


a) for Batch Processes and b) for Continuous Processes

Pgina 9 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The available power of a single microwave source at 2450 MHz does not exceed 6kW and
consequently a single dryer module can often have a number of such sources. Again dryer
modules can be combined to increase the available power. At 896/915 MHz single power units up
to 60 kW are available. The power supply is usually placed remotely and an individual dryer unit
can have several sources connected to it. The size of rf and mw tunnel dryers, as briefly
described above, for powers up to 100 kW are comparable. At larger powers there are not
sufficient units in service to permit any meaningful comparison.

2.2 Preliminary Feasibility Study Based on Process and Final


Product Requirements
Questions which should be asked at the outset are listed in Table 2.1.
These questions are placed roughly in the order in which they should be asked and presuppose
that drying with dielectric techniques is technically possible. This aspect and the assumed
advantages of dielectric heating techniques will be treated in later sections but first we will
consider the significance of the above questions.
Questions 1-4.
If the process is an existing one and no improvement in the quality of the product is sought then
the question arises, what is the matter with the present form of drying? If the answer is nothing
much then the user should stick with present methods because the capital cost of rf/microwave
equipment will almost certainly be large in comparison. However cases may arise where the
present dryer is satisfactory in terms of energy efficiency but where an improvement in the
product quality could offer greater commercial scope for the product. If this is so then the
improvements possible with dielectric techniques (see below) could be of interest. For a new
process, a rough guide line on the economics is the value of the product: if this is high then the
high capital costs may not be so important, if it is not then the other factors must be examined
carefully. The need to check if improvements in conventional methods or alternative
developments could provide the required increased efficiency or quality at a cheaper capital
and/or running cost should be carried out at an early stage before committing a project to any one
route. Although such advice is obvious, objectivity can be difficult once enthusiasm for a particular
technique has been generated. As an example of an alternative route, advances in computer
controlled infra-red lamps have allowed moisture levelling in thin webs to be successfully carried
out whereas formerly only radio frequency levelling was possible.
Questions 5-6.
Where fundamental problems with conventional heat transfer exist or the rate of drying is
significantly limited by the method of heat transfer then dielectric heating techniques could well be
the answer and may so transform the efficiency that capital costs are out-weighed. However if the
rate of moisture removal, and hence the required power, is large the capital cost for the generator
could be prohibitive.
Generally dielectric techniques favour low throughput, high value products rather than the
converse. However, further inspection of the existing process could show that the conventional
dryer is efficient in terms of the kilowatts required to remove a kilogramme of moisture during the
early stages of drying and improvements are only required at the dry end. An add-on dielectric
dryer or combinational dryer used for only part of the drying could well be economic.

Pgina 10 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Question 7.
Some or all of the improvements listed in question 7 are possible with dielectric heating. Having
passed beyond questions 1-6 there must be some improvement sought either in quality or heat
transfer or the overall operation of the process. The difficult question to answer is how important
these are when compared to the possible greater running and capital costs?
As mentioned, if a heat transfer problem exists with conventional methods then the appropriate
use of dielectric heating could be more efficient in terms of running costs and the product quality
may be much improved. This latter factor alone can outweigh the extra initial capital cost and
other benefits may be an added bonus. Whilst product quality is one of the strongest points in
favour of using dielectric techniques there is the inherent problem that the equipment
manufacturer cannot judge the importance a potential user attaches to this. Conversely the user
has no idea of the possible improvement in quality until drying tests are performed. Clearly a
general exchange of information between potential users and the rf/microwave community is a
vital ingredient in the promotion of these techniques. Be that as it may, only the user is in a
position to balance these various factors.
Question 10.
Future legislation, for example, on air or water borne emissions could affect the proposed
conventional or dielectric process. A general feature of the latter is that the air flows associated
with dielectric drying are less than with convection dryers and hence can lead to a cleaner
working environment. Whilst changes in environmental legislation can work in favour of dielectric
techniques, fiscal or tax legislation can work against them. For example some materials have
been successfully dried using these techniques and the properties of the finished product were
such as to take advantage of the laws regarding sale by weight and volume etc. Unfortunately
when these laws were changed the reason for using dielectric heating disappeared.
Question 11.
In another example the unique properties of this form of heating were used to create a quality of
product not achievable by other means. Changes in the sugar content of the raw material
rendered the dielectric heating obsolete.
Question 12.
In common with all types of dryer, investment in expensive equipment which could be redundant if
the product ceases to be popular is obvious.

2.3 Technical
Characteristics

Feasibility

Power

Absorption

and

Drying

An initial assessment of the technical feasibility prior to any drying tests requires the compilation,
as far as possible, of the information indicated in Table 2.2.
Items 1-2.
The throughput and moisture contents determine the required evaporative power which can be
compared with currently available units. As a rough guide it can be assumed that 1 kwhr of rf or
microwave power will evaporate 1.2 kg of water. For rf dryers power outputs range from about 6
to 600 kW per dryer module but commonly the upper limit is about 80-100 kW although modules
Pgina 11 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


can be placed in series. For microwave dryers the output power is derived from magnetron
sources of 30 or 60kW at the frequency of 896/915 MHz. At 2450 MHz it is obtained from multiple
sources with the largest output per source being 6kW.
Item 3.
The required evaporative power to remove all the moisture down to the lower limit may be
excessive using dielectric techniques. The point at which the mass of moisture removed per
kilowatt of convective energy decreases significantly can often be used to indicate the point in the
process where dielectric heating could be usefully employed yet at the same time not requiring
excessive, electromagnetic power.
Items 4-5.
Dielectric heating is best suited to removing free moisture and least suited for bound moisture and
water of crystallisation. Dissolved salts in the moisture increase the ability of the wet solid to
absorb dielectric energy but if concentration is too high it can lead to problems of heating nonuniformity at microwave frequencies.
Item 6.
The heat sensitivity of the material is very important. At atmospheric pressure material in the form
of blocks, slabs, beds of particulates without a through-flow of air will usually dry at or close to the
boiling point of the liquid. The combination of convective and dielectric drying will decrease the
drying temperature but it will still be higher than that solely for convective drying in the so called
'constant rate period" of drying. The nature of combinational drying is such, however, that the
surface may not dry out due to the large internal mass transfer rates which are possible. In the
latter stages of drying this can lead to lower temperatures than for the traditional "falling rate"
where the surface can reach the air stream temperature. If the material has a low critical
temperature (less than 50 C) vacuum techniques will probably be required.
Item 7.
For products which are not larger than about 500 mm high by 4m wide then rf heating systems
can be constructed. With microwaves, batch systems are available for comparable product sizes
but truely continuous systems cannot at present handle materials greater than about 400 mm
high with 896/915 MHz equipment and about 200 mm high with 2450 MHz equipment. Semicontinuous techniques, using automatic opening and closing of port doors synchronised with the
product loading allow "batch" size products to be dried semicontinuously.
Item 8.
If the materials are irregularly shaped heating can be non-uniform. The electric field, and hence.
The power absorption, tends to concentrate at corners and sharp points.
Item 9.
Most existing industrial dryers are intended for webs and sheet material or products which can be
transported on belts. Other methods of transportation, in particular for granular material, have
been proposed and in some cases tried successfully on a small scale but are not yet in industrial
use.

Pgina 12 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The principal industrial applications of radio frequency and microwave heating are listed in Table
2.3. Further information on some of the drying examples are given in later chapters which deal
with the available equipment.

2.4 Advantages and Limitations of Dielectric Heating Techniques


From the industrial applications given in Section 2.3 it is possible to discern the advantages which
rf and microwave drying can offer over other techniques, these are listed in Table 2.4. Against
these advantages must be set the limitations shown in Table 2.5.
The limitations listed in Table 2.5 must be placed in perspective: for existing industrial dryers the
benefits have far outweighed the limitations of cost. Where the method is used for "dry end" or
combinational drying the size of the available generators has not been a problem. The powers
available are ideal for many batch or semi-continuous processes. Whilst the temperature
limitation has ruled out a number of products it has also been found that because of the faster
drying and different internal gas flow mechanisms some products can be dried with dielectric
heating at higher temperatures than would be thought possible from previous experience with hot
air drying. Arcing has not generally been a serious problem in existing applications and in some
microwave vacuum systems solvents can be safely dried owing to the lack of air. Fine particulates
in fluidised beds would probably be the most susceptible products for arcing.

2.5 Design of Dryer, Drying Tests and Choice Between Radio or


Microwave Frequencies
In trying to get the initial "feel" for the dryer design it can be assumed that either rf or microwave
techniques are possible. As the outline design parameters are obtained it may become apparent
that one of the techniques is unsuitable. On the other hand it may be that neither can be
discarded until actual drying tests are performed or the cost of the equipment is discussed. The
design of a dryer will start from the required evaporative energy which is calculated from the
sensible and latent heat requirements, as determined from the throughput and moisture contents,
and an assumed efficiency of power transfer of rf or microwave energy from the generator to the
wet material which can be taken as between 75 - 95%.
The general "size" of the active drying volume required is determined by the shape and size of
the product and the power densities which can be achieved, that is the absorbed power per unit
volume of the wet material which is possible for the given product. Estimates of the latter can be
made if the dielectric properties of the wet material are known or can be reliably estimated to an
order of magnitude. Maximum practicable power densities are given in Part 2 Table 1.5. The
actual method of applying the rf or microwave energy and the handling system will be determined
by the size, shape and properties of the material to be dried. In particular if the material is heatsensitive then the heating technique will be limited to microwave vacuum drying or possibly
combinational drying with an adequate flow of air to keep the product temperature at acceptable
levels.
Present dryers use belts to convey the material or in the case of webs and sheets they are pulled
through. Other options, for example fluid beds, are possible but have not been used industrially.
The last item is the air flow: this must be at least sufficient to carry away the evaporating moisture
and prevent condensation occurring on the electrical components within the dryer cabinet, that is,
the exhaust air should not be saturated. Where dielectric heating is the principal energy source it
can be assumed, as a first approximation that the air temperature does not change from its inlet
value and the amount of moisture it must hold is found from the rate of moisture evaporation due
to the dielectric heating. For combinational drying the relative contributions of the conventional
Pgina 13 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


and dielectric heating must be decided from drying tests which aim to find the minimum dielectric
power at which the benefits of this form of drying are still obtained.
Drying tests on bench or pilot equipment are carried out to find the practical power densities
which can be achieved and to enable the drying characteristics, the quality, and the appearance
of the dried product to be judged. With microwave heating, a domestic oven can be used as an
inexpensive means of carrying out initial tests. The results obtained however will at best usually
be on the conservative side and can sometimes be misleading: industrial dryers heat more
uniformly and efficiently. It is important when using a domestic oven to place plenty of wet
material in the oven otherwise the power absorption will not be very good and the results will be
of little practical value. Such small scale tests can predict the behaviour in the full size dryer
reasonably well since the power densities can be comparable. The main difference is the spatial
power distribution. Certain precautions which should be observed when analysing the results are
mentioned in Part 2 Section 2.8.
At some stage the choice between radio and microwave frequency techniques must be taken.
The easiest case is when the power absorption characteristics of the material rule out one or the
other: insufficient power densities can be achieved at one frequency or the power absorption is
too large at microwave frequencies giving rise to uneven heating due to the fact that most of the
energy is absorbed in a relatively thin layer close to the surface, see Part 2 Section 1.4.2. Given
that the required power density can be obtained at either frequency, if the field strength required
at rf is near to the safety limit then microwaves could be preferred. Certainly for vacuum drying
microwaves are used to achieve the required power densities while at the sane time minimising
the possibility of arcing.
If the decision does not hinge on the power density then radio frequency methods have certain
advantages over microwave techniques. The dryer from the engineering point of view is usually
simpler and tolerances in design are not so critical. Screening of the dryer to prevent leakage of
electromagnetic energy is much simpler and product ports can generally be larger at rf compared
to microwave frequencies. Because of this simplicity it is more likely that modifications to the
dryer can be carried out by the user in the case of the rf compared to the microwave dryer.
As far as the power sources are concerned the maximum power output available in a single
module at the microwave frequency of 2450 MHz is 6 kW. By comparison at the radio frequencies
of 27.12 or 13.56 MHz single units of 50-100 kW are common and up to 600 kW is possible.
Consequently powers greater than 6 kW require multiple 2450 MHz microwave power supplies
which can mean duplication of control circuitry and greater complication and cost compared to the
rf generators. At the other common microwave frequency of 896/915 MHz the recent introduction
of 40 and 60 kW single modules at prices comparable with rf equipment and with overall
efficiencies of energy transfer of 80-85% has meant that microwave systems have become
competitive with rf units.
The above comments are, perhaps, of more concern to the potential user who wants to develop a
system rather than buy a complete package from the equipment manufacturer. In the latter case
provided, after the initial commissioning, the operation of the equipment is guarantied by the
manufacturer, the complexity of the system might not be of any consequence to the user. If such
is the case then the different systems will be judged on a purely commercial basis.
To date industrial rf and microwave heating equipment have developed in different areas and
have rarely been in competition. The arrival of the lower cost microwave units and equally the
broadening of rf applications into the food industry, traditionally the domain of microwave heating,
means that the status quo could well change.
Pgina 14 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.6 Recent Developments in Dielectric Dryers
The design of radio and microwave frequency generators is well established and improvements in
this aspect are concerned with increasing the efficiency and design to give microwave generators
with greater power outputs. As mentioned above at 896/915 MHz power outputs of up to 60 kW
are now possible and this could be pushed further to 70-80 kW, probably 120 kW within 2-5 years
subject to demand. At 2450 MHz the largest output of a single unit using a magnetron generator
device is not likely to rise significantly above the 6 kW level. Larger outputs at this frequency,
around 50 kW, are available from klystron devices but their capital cost at present is prohibitive
and is likely to remain so due to the limited demand.
Current developments are aimed more at finding new applications and marrying, in electrical
terms, the power generator to the actual dryer cabinet. New applications must always confront the
high capital cost of pure dielectric systems. One major development has been the combination of
efficient forms of air drying with modest amounts of dielectric energy to exploit the unique way in
which dielectric heating can drive the internal moisture to the surface. This technology can
prevent case hardening and thereby allow the air drying to operate more efficiently over a greater
proportion of the drying cycle and produce a higher quality product. Another area of increasing
importance is in the drying of high cost heat-sensitive fine chemicals by microwave vacuum
techniques.
In the area of matching the generator to the dryer to permit efficient transfer of energy from the
generator to the wet material a number of developments, are taking place. The dielectric heating
group of the Electricitie de France have adopted the philosophy of using a standard generator, at
rf and microwave frequencies, and employing a matching device which can link the dryer cabinet
containing the wet material efficiently to the generator over wide variations in the dielectric (power
absorbing) characteristics of the wet material. This approach should simplify the initial setting up
and commissioning procedure. The development of instruments which permit the electrical
impedance of rf circuits to be measured provides a convenient and versatile diagnostic tool for
trouble shooting and development of new systems. In addition it holds the prospect of allowing
the dryers to be commissioned more quickly against a "standard" electrical impedance plot
(Perkin, 1986).

Pgina 15 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

PARTE 2

Pgina 16 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

1 VOLUMETRIC POWER ABSORPTION


1.1 Introduction
The attractions of dielectric heating of non-metallic materials are derived from the basic fact that it
presents the process engineer with a means of direct, volumetric heating with significant power
densities.
This intensification of heating is potentially of great advantage so it is obviously necessary from
the outset to have a clear idea of the factors which determine the amount of power absorption
which can be achieved for a given material. These parameters are, the frequency of operation of
the electromagnetic energy source, the "loss factor" of the material - a parameter which describes
the "ease" with which a material can absorb electromagnetic energy at a given frequency, and the
electric field strength which is produced within the material. In this chapter these factors will be
examined with particular reference to drying operations, and typical data and power densities will
be given. In addition, the important topic of energy absorption by human beings will be discussed
so that the reasons for the safety limits imposed on rf and microwave equipment can be
appreciated.
The electromagnetic power absorbed and dissipated as heat in a unit volume of dielectric material
isgiven by:

Where:
f = the frequency of the applied electromagnetic field (Hertz)
o = the permittivity of free space (8.854.10-12 F/m)
'' = the effective loss factor of the material, a parameter determined by the dielectric
properties of the medium (dimensionless)
E = the electric field strength within the material, dependent upon the orientation of the
external electric field relative to the material, and the dielectric properties of the material
(V/m).
The most significant quantity in the above formula is the loss factor because it essentially
determines the absorbed power density since the frequency is fixed and the electric field strength
cannot exceed a certain value otherwise electrical arcing will occur. With wet materials the loss
factor increases with moisture content due to the fact that the moisture rather than the skeleton
solid absorbs the majority of the energy. This energy absorption can be interpreted in terms of the
breaking and remaking of hydrogen bonds, or alternatively the realignment of dipoles, and the
motion of charged ions under the influence of the applied electric field. Whilst further details are
given below on the physical mechanisms, limits and theoretical representation of the power
absorption, a first reading may be restricted to Sections, 1.2, 1.3.4, 1.3.7, 1.5 and 1.6.

Pgina 17 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1.2 Frequency of Operation
The available frequencies at which equipment can be operated are restricted to avoid interference
with telecommunications. The permitted frequencies and the tolerances allowed are shown in
Table 1.1.
These are legally binding by international agreement. The most commonly used frequencies
along with their respective wavelengths in air are underlined in the table. At present there is some
discussion concerning the future of the 896/915 MHz frequency allocation in the U.K. Although
this frequency range is not authorised in Western Europe industrial units operating at this
frequency have been installed.
In principle some of these frequencies have no limit on the power radiated to the surroundings,
subject to the safety levels required for human exposure, while others have a limit determined by
possible radio interference (these levels are below the exposure limits). In practice even the
unlimited frequencies must be maintained within reasonable limits because harmonic frequencies
of the fundamental can be generated and these do not lie within the unlimited band. For further
details the appropriate authority in the country concerned should be contacted. In the UK, advice
on radio interference is available from the Home Office, Directorate of Radio Technology.
Information on exposure limits is available from the National Radiological Protection Board,
Harwell.

1.3 Dielectric Loss Factor


The loss factor is determined by the nature of the material and is the principal parameter when
deciding whether or not sufficient electromagnetic energy can be absorbed to make dielectric
heating technically viable. In many texts the loss factor is not quoted explicitly, instead the
dielectric data are expressed in terms of the dielectric constant and tan where is the loss
angle, see Section 1.3.2, and is related to the loss factor through the expression,

In drying operations the magnitude of the loss factor of the wet material is determined mainly by
the water or solvent held in the pores or on the surface. As the material dries out then the loss
factor of the skeleton solid can be important. In the cases where it increases rapidly with
temperature, uneven heating can give rise to a thermal runaway effect in the hottest parts of the
material.

1.3.1 Mechanisms for energy absorption in liquids


1.3.1.1 Introduction
Water and solvents are able to absorb electromagnetic energy at microwave and radio
frequencies because they are polar materials with permanent dipoles and because dissolved
salts can be present in the liquid to make it weakly conducting. In many accounts of rf drying the
latter is often ignored and the heating is described in terms of dipoles alone, this is a mistake.

Pgina 18 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1.3.1.2 Permanent dipoles
To examine the response of a polar material to an applied electric field suppose that it is held
between the parallel plates of a condenser and an electric field is applied. The dipoles attempt to
line up with the field but complete alignment is frustrated by the constant collisions due to the
thermal motion of the molecules. After a finite relaxation time , there is on average a net
alignment in the field direction (if the field were now turned off the dipoles would return to a
random distribution in a time of the order of ). The dipoles produce an electric field which
opposes the applied field so that the net field in the dielectric changes. This is represented in
terms of the dielectric constant () of the medium, a quantity related to the dipolar structure. For
air, can be taken as equal to one. If the polarity of the applied electric field is changed by using
an alternating frequency voltage source then the dipoles attempt to follow the field reversal. At
low frequencies there is ample time for the dipoles to realign and oppose the field so that the
magnitude of the dielectric constant is unaltered. Because the frequency is low the number of
reversals per second is low and consequently the energy expended per second by the electric
field in changing the position of the dipoles (increasing the potential energy) and converted into
heat through collisions is negligible.
At the other extreme when the angular frequency () is very large >> l the dipoles have no
time to realign, the dielectric constant falls to a value determined by other high frequency
polarisation effects related to the electron cloud and nucleus of the molecules and of no concern
in the present context. With little movement of the dipoles there is negligible energy dissipation.
For frequencies at which - 1 the dipoles are just achieving alignment when the field changes
so there is a constant lag of the dipoles behind the electric field and the value of the dielectric
constant decreases.
The dissipation on the other hand is a maximum because the dipoles are still able to rotate and
they undergo a large number of reversals per second.
The relaxation time can be related to the Brownian motion of the liquid and is given to an order of
magnitude by,

Where:
is the viscosity of the liquid,
T the absolute temperature
K Boltzmann's constant
a the radius of the molecule
For water = 3.7x10-11s, so that the frequency for maximum dissipation lies in the microwave
region, this is true for most polar solvents. The value of decreases with increasing temperature.
In comparison with liquid water, the loss factor and dielectric constant of ice are much smaller due
to the increased difficulty of rotation.

1.3.1.3 Dissolved Salts


If dissolved salts are present in the moisture, as is commonly the case, they will dissociate into
positive and negative ions making the liquid weakly conductive. These ions will move under the
action of an applied electric field absorbing energy and dissipating it through collisions with the
Pgina 19 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


molecules. Whilst this mechanism is frequency independent, the power absorption increases with
temperature because the value of the conductivity rises. Generally for drying operations the
quantity of salts present is not excessive and problems due to lack of penetration of the electric
field into the material, which can arise for large values of , or equivalently a large value of loss
factor (Equation 1.8), do not prohibit the use of these techniques for volumetric heat transfer, as
can happen in the cooking of food, see Section 1.4.2 and Figure 1.5b.

1.3.2 Representation of loss mechanisms for dipolar and conductive losses in


liquids
The dipole polarisation can be represented by a dielectric constant F- and loss factor '' given by,

where s and are the static and high frequency ( ) values of . (In some texts these
symbols refer to the absolute permittivity which is o times the dielectric constant as defined here
and the dielectric constant is given the symbol k).
Formally these can be represented by a complex dielectric constant.

where j = -1,
(complex notation is discussed in Part 4 Section 1.2.3). The temperature dependence of will
result in the dipolar component of and '' decreasing with rising temperature in a free liquid; this
may not be the case when the liquid is held by a solid. These results are summarised in Figures
1.1 and 1.2.

Pgina 20 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.1 Loss factor of water, its common constituents.

Figure 1.2 Variation of dielectric constant and loss factor of water, dipole moment only

Pgina 21 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The oscillation of the dipoles under the action of the applied field E.ejwt is equivalent to the
"displacement current" given by,

where t = time and /t is the partial derivative with respect to time.


The average power dissipation per unit volume is then found from,

only the component of JD in phase with E contributes to the average energy. For a perfect
dielectric ( = 0) there is no energy dissipation and the current and electric field are 90 out of
phase as illustrated in Figure 1.3. Some common terms which are used are "tan " and "the
power factor". These are related to the phase angle between the current and electric field for
the "lossy" or imperfect capacitor. Such a capacitor can be represented as a perfect capacitor
with a resistance either in series or parallel:

where Power factor = sin , see figure 1.3.

Pgina 22 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.3 Representation of capacitor filled with


(a) Ideal dielectric (No loss), (b) Real (lossy) dielectric
A parameter, the Q factor (see Section 1) is given by,

The average power dissipated through the motion of the ions in the weakly conducting liquid is
given by,

where JC = E is the conduction current (A/m2)


Formerly the conductive term can be incorporated into the dielectric loss, representing it by an
effective loss factor given by,

Pgina 23 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

In practice incorporating the two mechanisms into either an effective loss factor or conversely an
effective conductivity is common. Dielectric Measurements are presented either in terms of loss
factor and dielectric constant or in terms of a complex conductivity without any reference to the
loss mechanism which could be either or both of the above.

1.3.3 Loss mechanisms in dry solids


Dry solids generally have a much smaller loss factor than the accompanying moisture and so
their loss is not too important. The dielectric properties of many solids can be represented
empirically by a broad distribution of dipole-like distributions for the complex dielectric constant.
From the practical point of view the most important feature is that the loss factors of some solids
exhibit a thermal runaway with increasing temperature, for example nylon and acrylic, which can
make the drying operation difficult or even impossible to control.

1.3.4 Dielectric properties of wet materials


The initial layers of water molecules held on the capillary walls are bound and do not exhibit the
dielectric properties of the free liquid as discussed above. They can be considered as part of the
solid rather than the liquid. As the skeleton solid takes up more moisture the liquid's dielectric
properties approach those of the free liquid. The dielectric properties of the wet solid are derived
from those of the skeleton solid, the bound and unbound moisture. The dependence on the
moisture content is illustrated in Figure 1.4 for non-hygroscopic, moderate and strongly
hygroscopic materials. Usually dielectric heating techniques are effective at removing the
moisture above the knee of the curve (point B). For strongly hygroscopic materials point B lies
between 10-40% (dry basis) whereas for non-hygroscopic materials it lies at about 2%. The large
increase in loss factor with moisture content for unbound and loosely bound moisture can be used
to great effect to selectively heat the wettest regions of a solid and so reduce moisture profiles.

Figure 1.4 General behaviour of the dielectric properties of a Wet Solid


(1) Non-Hygroscopic (2) Strongly Hygroscopic
(3) Moderately Hygroscopic AB - Region of tightly bound moisture

Pgina 24 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The temperature dependence of the dielectric properties of a wet solid are still related to those of
the ionic and dipolar components, but in addition, for a given moisture content as the temperature
rises the proportion of free moisture increases and this can counter the falling dipolar contribution
at low moisture contents. If ionic conductivity predominates, as is the case at radio frequencies,
the loss factor increases with temperature.

1.3.5 Mixture theories for dielectric properties


Whilst there is no substitute for actual measurements, it is always desirable to have some order of
magnitude value of the loss factor of a wet material.
Such an estimate requires knowledge of the relative volumetric proportions of the solid, bound
moisture, and the unbound moisture, and some idea of the concentration of salts in the liquid so
that the electrical conductivity can be estimated. Then, the simplest formula for the effective loss
factor and dielectric constant is given by assuming that the contribution from each component is
proportional to its fractional volume. More accurate formulae exist but in the first instance their
use is not warranted. If, however, the values obtained suggest critical behaviour in terms of
penetration depth (Section 1.4.2) or electrical breakdown in the air gap above the material
(Section 1.4.3) then better correlations should be sought, as for example in Tinga & Voss (1973).

1.3.6 Measurement of dielectric properties


Common techniques rely on the measurement of the impedance of a known 1ength of
transmission line with and without the dielectric filling the space between the conductors, see Part
3 Section 2. The measurements can be related to the known theoretical values and the dielectric
properties deduced.
Impedance can be measured relatively simply but laboriously using slotted line techniques. More
modern methods utilise network analysers and swept frequency generators to quickly produce the
results. Other techniques relate the change in frequency of a tuned circuit, when the dielectric
material is inserted, to the dielectric constant and loss factor.
Generally measurements on wet materials at high temperatures are complicated by the difficulty
of maintaining equilibrium conditions - the sample tends to dry out. Many methods are reported in
the Journal of Microwave Power. In the UK a number of universities, the National Physical
Laboratory and the Electrical Research Association offer facilities for dielectric measurements.

1.3.7 Dielectric Data


Tables 1.2 and 1.3 show some dielectric data for a range of materials and solvents. Some
representative data for paper, food and granular material are shown in Figures 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7.
Extensive data can be found in Von Hippel's book, the NBS report of Buckley and Maryott and
issues of the Journal of Microwave Power, see the bibliography.

Pgina 25 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.5 Dielectric properties of Foodstuffs at Micriowave frequencies


Pgina 26 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.6 Dielectric permittivity and Loss factor as a Function of Moisture Content for some
Particulate Material

Figure 1.7 Dielectric Properties of Paper and Board as a Function of Moisture Content

Pgina 27 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1.4 Electric Field Strength
The direction and magnitude of the electric field in a material is governed by its dielectric
properties and the orientation of the external field. The field strength must be below a value at
which electrical breakdown of the air occurs. With a lossy material at radio and microwave
frequencies the electric field strength diminishes as the electromagnetic wave penetrates the
material. This is usually important only for microwaves, provided the loss factor is not too large at
radio frequencies (100's). In the extreme case of a metallic conductor the electric field and hence
current are concentrated within a thin shell at the surface of the material.

1.4.1 Practicable electric field strengths - Electrical breakdown in air


At atmospheric pressure if the electric field between clean planar electrodes separated by about
l0mm exceeds 300OkV/m the air breaks down due to ionization. Strictly this applies only for low
frequency fields but is taken as true up to about 1 GHz and is used when setting a safety limit on
the power handling of waveguides. For larger gaps the critical value decreases. For present
applications a value of between 1000-3000kV/m can be used in the absence of anything more
definitive. At pressures below atmospheric the breakdown field decreases as shown in Figure 1.8
and for vacuum applications the dryers must be designed so that waves launched into the dryer
have electric field strengths below this value. The critical values are derived using clean
electrodes. In practical drying operations, any dirt or carbon particles on the belt or the presence
of the load itself can reduce the breakdown field strength-by up to five times in the extreme case
of belts which have previously been damaged by an arc and then the carbon deposits not
completely cleaned off.

Figure 1.8 Typical Breakdown Electric Field Responses in Air as a Function of the Pressure for
Two Frequencies

The risk of arcing in properly designed industrial systems is slight since the field strengths are
generally well below the critical limits.
Pgina 28 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1.4.2 Uniform heating in practice - limitations due to electric field penetration
One of the benefits attributed to dielectric techniques is uniformity of heating. Whilst in principle
completely uniform power absorption is not possible in many practical cases it is effectively
achieved in so far as the material is heated satisfactorily to within certain tolerances in
temperature or, alternatively, the energy absorbed, when integrated over the period of heating, is
approximately the same for all parts of the heated product.
Non-uniformities in heating can arise for several reasons. In general the design of the heating
zone of the dryer, for example, the rf capacitor plates or the microwave oven cavity, gives rise to
an electric field distribution within the dryer. Regardless of this, however, there will always be an
inherent E field distribution due to the basic physical requirement that as energy is absorbed from
the electromagnetic field as it propagates through the lossy product, the amplitude of the electric
field, and hence the power, must decrease.

Figure 1.9 Penetration of Microwaves

Consider for example the case shown in Figure 1.9 where an electromagnetic wave is incident on
the face of a lossy dielectric material. At the interface, part of the wave is reflected while the rest
is transmitted into the material. As the transmitted wave propagates through the materialthe
amplitude of the E field diminishes exponentially according to:

where the value E0 is that which the transmitted wave has at the interface, and similarly the
power varies as

The parameter Dp the penetration depth for power transfer (sometimes it is defined for the E field
rather than the power) is related to the dielectric properties by,

Pgina 29 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

and represents the distance in which the power decreases by l/e of its initial value just inside the
interface. Depending upon the dielectric properties, the range of values for Dp is typically, For
drying applications, the effects due to this attenuation of the power are only important at
microwave frequencies. Variations in the electric field at radio frequencies are due to the design
of the electrode system as already mentioned.
It can be seen from above that problems of heating uniformity can occur for microwaves if the
thickness of the material is comparable to the penetration depth. For the drying of a bed of
particles, for example, this could place limitations on the bed thickness or necessitate stirring or
mixing of the particles so that on average they see the same electric field. lt should be
remembered that for thick materials as the surface dries out so the microwave penetration into
the centre will improve. In some cases the problem is not so severe as the analysis above
suggests because the electromagnetic waves are incident on the material from more than one
direction, as Figure 1.10a illustrates for a block. As a consequence, despite the power
attenuation, the power absorbed in the middle might not be as small as earlier considerations
indicate because the effective electric field at the centre is the sum of the individual attenuated
components from the various directions. A particular case to illustrate this point is shown in Figure
1.10b.

Figure 1.10 Heating a block with microwave a) Possible direction of incident electromagnetic
radiation b) Combined effect of waves from two directions

Pgina 30 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


To summarise, limitations due to the penetration depth should be kept in mind when considering
microwave heating especially at the higher frequency, smaller wavelength, of 2450 MHz. If the
dielectric data are available this parameter can be estimated. If the design of the microwave oven
cavity is such that waves are incident on the material from more than one direction then possible
problems might not be as severe as initially thought. Small scale drying tests with equipment
having an electric field distribution similar to that envisaged in the production dryer should enable
such potential problems to be quickly investigated.
For a metallic conductor the electric field drops to l/e of its initial value in the "skin depth" given
by,

where a is the magnetic permeability of the material.


lt can be seen that at radio and microwave frequencies the electric field and current are confined
to a thin zone close to the surface of the conductor.

1.4.3 Changes in the electric field at the interface of two dielectrics


An electric field at the interface of two different dielectrics satisfies two boundary conditions: the
tangential components in the two media are equal and the normal components multiplied by the
appropriate dielectric constant are equal. At the surface of a conductor, strictly speaking an ideal
conductor, that is = , the tangential component of the electric field is zero and the normal
component is determined by the charge density on the plate.
Using these boundary conditions it can be shown that when a dielectric is introduced into an
electric field, for example that between two parallel rod conductors, the field distribution is altered
in such a way that the field concentrates into the dielectric but its magnitude is less than before
the dielectric was introduced.
Consider the case of a parallel plate condenser with a voltage V applied across the gap tg. A
dielectric of thickness d < t is introduced, Figure 1.11. With this arrangement the field distribution
remains unaltered except at the edges but the electric field changes from a value of,

to a value in the dielectric of,

and in the air gap,

Pgina 31 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.11 Parallel plate condenser partially filled by a dielectric with dielectric constant .

This simple example illustrates an important point, namely, if the dielectric constant is large and
the required electric field in the material to achieve the desired power densities is large, then the
electric field strength in the air gap above the solid can be excessive and lead to electrical
breakdown.

1.5 Power absorption by Human Beings - Safety Limits for Exposure


to Electromagnetic fields
The human body absorbs both radio and microwave frequency energy due to its large water and
fat content and consequently personnel must be protected and safety limits set. Since the early
1970's much research has been devoted to the question of the effects of absorption of radio and
microwave fields. This effort was stimulated by the discrepancy between Western and Soviet bloc
safety standards - the latter were significantly lower, scares about the safety of domestic
microwave ovens and reports of apparent non-thermal effects which caused cataracts and the
impairment of fertility in males.
By using the equations of electromagnetics and a simplified representation of the human body in
terms of shape and dielectric properties it is possible to derive the power absorbed by the human
body when exposed to a radio or microwave beam sufficiently far away for "far field" conditions to
exist. It turns out that below about 1 MHz the interaction is low. At around 30 MHz the interaction
is a maximum and significant energy is absorbed due to certain "resonances" related to the size
of the body relative to the wavelength of the radiation at this frequency. As the frequency is
increased to the gigahertz region absorption by the water in the body is important but has the
effect of limiting the penetration into the tissues to small levels.
Having determined the likely power absorption by the body the question is what effect does it
have. A wide range of biological changes have been observed which can be attributed to
reversible or non-reversible thermal effects due to heating of the body. In common with other
forms of heating, for example physical exercise, provided the temperature rise is less than about
1C the heating due to radio or microwaves is not considered serious. The temporary infertility
mentioned above can be attributed to reversible heating. Far more serious is irreversible heating
which can permanently damage tissues as for example with cataracts. At present, codes of
Pgina 32 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


practice for using radio or microwave fields aim to minimise the reversible heating and eliminate
the irreversible heating. Based on experiments with animals which relate the ability to carry out
certain tasks while exposed to electromagnetic energy, and allowing a safety factor of 10, a
limiting absorption rate of 0.4W/kg averaged over the body mass has been proposed in the USA
and the UK. Using this figure as a basis, it is possible to calculate the permitted power levels for
the far field region as shown in Figure 1.12 and Table 1.4 which are based on proposals of the
National Radiological Protection Board, UK (NRPB, 1986). The equivalent USA standards are
similar. For near field conditions, that is within a distance of about five wavelengths from the
electromagnetic source the limits must be expressed as maximum electric and magnetic fields
because the assumptions applicable for plane waves in the far field are no longer valid. These are
shown in Table 1.4. In passing, it should be noted that as research has made the effects of
radiation clearer, the difference between the safety standards of the West and Soviet bloc has
diminished.

Figure 1.12 Proposed exposure levels in the NRPB consultative document Upper curve - Adults;
Lower curve - Whole population.

The formulation of the above limits assumes that there are no significant low level non-thermal
effects.
At present this is taken to be true partly on the basis that such effects have not manifest
themselves in the operation of the large number of industrial installations, at the safety levels
used. Although much effort has been devoted to the search for non-thermal effects, the picture to
date is ambiguous: experimental results reported from one laboratory appear difficult to reproduce
in others. However, the various regulatory authorities maintain a watching brief over this issue of
non-thermal effects. A very readable and balanced summary can be found in a recent paper
(Grant, 1986).
In practice the manufacturers of radio and microwave equipment aim to achieve power levels at
or below those recommended within a small distance of the active part of the dryer, usually about
50 mm. The levels of electromagnetic radiation experienced by personnel in industrial systems
should generally be below the statutory limits because there is no need for people to be close to
the dryer while it is operating and there is no need to be near the active part of the dryer anyway any manual loading is carried out at the end of a tunnel specifically intended to attenuate
electromagnetic energy.
Pgina 33 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1.6 Typical Values for Dielectric Heating
The range of typical values for the dielectric constant and loss factor are,
3-10
" 0.01 - 200
but for order of magnitude estimates for drying, typically 0.1 < " < l. Values of " larger than
about 5 can pose problems for microwave heating in as much as the heating can be non-uniform
due to the rapid attenuation of the wave while for " < 0.1 the power density using radio
frequency would be limited and for " < 0.01 only microwave resonant cavities could be used.
Values of the permitted electric field strength in the Material will be Emax < 100kV/m. Using this
value and " = 0.1 l gives values of the power densities shown in Table 1.5 for the most
common frequencies of operation.

1.7 Principal Symbols for Section Three


a
Dp
Ds
d
E, Er.m.s
EAIR, EMAT
E(Z)
E0
f
JC
JD
K
P(Z)
P0
q
Q
RS, RP
T
t
tg

''COND
0
''
j
-1
AIR

radius of molecule
penetration depth
skin depth of conductor
thickness
electric field, electric field root inean sqiiare value
value of E in air, material
value of E at position Z
value of E at interface
frequency
conduction current
displacement current
Boltzmann's constant
transmitted power at distance Z from interface
initial value of transmitted power.
power per unit volume
Quality or "Q" factor
equivalent series and parallel resistance
absolute temperature
time
gap separation
electrical conductivity
dielectric constant, = 1 for air
equivalent loss factor for conductive losses
permittivity of free space
loss factor
wavelength in air
viscosity
relaxation time
angular frequency = 2f

Pgina 34 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

2. HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER


2.1 Introduction
The success of dielectric drying is due to its unique direct volumetric heat transfer and the
changes in heat and mass flow which this brings. In this chapter results from theoretical modelling
and experimental drying tests carried out at atmospheric pressure will be used to illustrate the
heat and mass transfer characteristics of dielectric drying for situations where the dielectric
energy is either the principal source of evaporative energy or where it acts in combination with
another source of heat, commonly hot air.
In passing it should be noted that a number of Soviet authors have presented results for dielectric
heating in which several transport mechanisms not usually thought important have been included
effects proportional to the gradient of the electric field. Since the information is largely in the
original Russian language and appears to be rather sketchy it is not mentioned further in the
present work.
Dielectric heating is most often used to remove free or loosely bound moisture distributed within a
porous skeleton solid either as discrete pockets (pendular state) or as a mixture of continuous
threads of moisture and discontinuous pockets. The size and shape of the materials can be
loosely but adequately classified as,

sheets and webs,


blocks and slabs,
particulates held in a bed.

2.2 Physical Mechanisms for Internal Heat and Mass Transfer


Internal moisture flow for hot air drying is due principally to liquid flow by capillary action and
vapour flow by gaseous diffusion. The first flow can be related to gradients in moisture content
and temperature and the second to gradients in partial vapour pressure or a corresponding
temperature gradient. The temperature usually decreases towards the centre of the material.
In contrast, with rf and microwave heating because of the volumetric beat source, the temperature
is greatest in the centre of the material even when the power decreases with penetration, as is
the case for microwave drying, and in addition internal evaporation may take place. The direction
of the temperature gradient increases the liquid and the diffusional vapour flows. The internal
evaporation when it takes place gives rise to filtrational flow of the continuous liquid threads in the
pores and convective flow of the vapour due to the excess gaseous pressure created. For a
saturated solid the former would only be expected at the boiling point, unless there are air
pockets which interrupt the threads, in which case evaporation can take place into these pockets
causing a localised increase in pressure. This can occur below the boiling point. As a result of the
non-uniform nature of the porous network several of these flow mechanisms can occur
simultaneously. The higher solids temperature associated with dielectric heating also has the
effect of reducing the viscosity of the liquid, effectively increasing the mass transport coefficients.
With hot air drying, heat and mass flow are intimately linked. Slow internal movement of moisture
results in the surface drying out and its temperature increasing which in turn results in a decrease
of heat transfer from the external heat source. A feature of dielectric heating is that the link is not
so strong, the increase in temperature due to internal mass resistance does not, in the first
Pgina 35 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


approximation, affect the volumetric absorption: it can alter the dielectric properties but these in
turn can affect the internal electric field so that the power can remain the same or even increase.
Where it is possible for internal evaporation to take place then the dielectric heating can always
overcome the internal resistance to mass flow by raising the internal temperature and hence
vapour pressure to a value at which the excess pressure is sufficient to drive the moisture flow.
The price to pay for this can be unacceptable temperatures >100C and/or too great an excess
pressure which can blow the material apart. In some cases the excess pressure can be used to
advantage to puff out material, for example tobacco and noodles.
The ratio of the internal to external resistance to heat flow can be represented by the Biot number

Where:
hT is the heat transfer coefficient for convective flow
2d is the thickness of the material
k the thermal conductivity of the wet material.
If BiT < 0.1 then the temperature of the solid can be taken as uniform.
The ratio of the internal resistance to vapour flow by diffusion to the external vapour flow is given
by,

Where:
kM is the mass transfer coefficient for convective flow,
Mg the molecular weight of the air,
g the density of the air,
Dv the vapour diffusion coefficient.
If BiM < 0.1, the internal resistance can be neglected. For typical values of the above parameters
this requires d< 30 microns, that is there is resistance to vapour flow for all but the thinnest
materials. Where the situation is borderline say 0.1 < BiM < l then neglect of the internal
resistance can still yield reasonable results because the required increase in the internal
temperature to generate the necessary vapour gradients is not too large. Where BiM is large then
the other extreme, taking the resistance as infinite until the boiling point is reached and thereafter
assuming the resistance is negligible, can provide significant simplifications and useful results.

2.3 Simplified View of Drying Behaviour


2.3.1 Modified wet bulb temperature
For dielectric heating accompanied by a flow of hot air, some idea of the relative importance of
each heat source to the drying, and the change in the wet solids temperature can be found by
considering the drying of a notional wet solid (Perkin, 1983a). The solid is assumed to have
negligible internal resistance to heat and mass flow, its surface remains saturated with moisture
Pgina 36 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


and is small enough not to alter the external airstream conditions significantly. The equation
describing the heat and mass transfer for steady state conditions, a modified wet bulb type of
equation, is given after some rearrangement by,

Where:
Tg, Ts
are the temperatures of the airstream and surface of the wet solid,
PVG, PVS are the partial vapour pressures in the airstream and at the surface of the wet
solid,
P0 is atmospheric pressure,
r is the latent heat of evaporation,
ML the molecular weight of the liquid,
T 1 - PVS/P0
q is the electromagnetic power absorbed per unit volume, taken as constant over the volume, that
is, any effects due to penetration depth have not been included; b is the volume to surface area
ratio where the area is that available for heat and mass transfer, and T is a correction factor
which takes into account the change of hT with the convective flow of moisture away from the
surface. The significance of the parameter qb/hT lies in the fact that qb/hT (Tg- Ts) is the ratio of
the heat transfer due to electromagnetic absorption compared to that due to conduction from the
airstream.
The value of the surface temperature Ts shown in Table 2.1 for increasing s values of qb/hT;
several regimes are apparent. At large values, qb/hT > 500 C, the drying characteristics are due
principally to the electromagnetic energy: the drying is insensitive to the temperature and humidity
of the airstream.
The heat transfer to or from the air stream is about 10% of the energy used in evaporation (the
effect of radiation losses has not been included). The primary role of the air stream is to carry
away the evaporating moisture. For qb/hT < 50C both the electromagnetic energy and the
airstream participate in the drying and the solid's temperature is within about 15C of the
corresponding value for hot air drying alone under otherwise identical conditions. For intermediate
values 50C< qb/hT < 500C the behaviour changes gradually from the hot air type
characteristics to the high temperature dielectric drying.
In passing it can be noted that the effect of internal resistance to mass flow or the hygroscopic
properties of a solid would be equivalent qualitatively to increasing the value of qb/hT for the
nominal solid considered above. Internal resistance to heat flow and the inclusion of the
correction factor beta would decrease the heat flow to or from the solid.

2.3.2 Modified adiabatic saturation temperature


For convective drying the upper limit on the energy utilisation can be found by assuming that at
the dryer outlet equilibrium conditions are attained - the temperature and humidity of the wet solid
equals that of the airstream. Strictly speaking this idea cannot be carried over to dielectric heating
because equilibrium is never attained as electromagnetic energy is absorbed regardless of the
state of the airstream or solid's surface. However results computed for a wet surface and for the
number of transfer units Nt greater than about 4 show that the outlet relative humidity is
approximately equal to that of the airstream for hygroscopic and non-hygroscopic materials
Pgina 37 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


(Perkin, 1983a). If the sensible heating of the wet solid can be neglected in comparison with the
evaporative energy then a heat and mass balance on the entry and exit ports, together with the
relation for the relative humidity in terms of the saturated vapour pressure, allow the exit
temperature and humidity to be calculated in terms of the total electromagnetic energy. The
parameter absorbed and the inlet conditions and mass flow of the air. analogous to qb/hT is,

Where:
Q=
total electromagnetic energy absorbed,
G=
mass flow of air (kg/s),
CpgIN = the specific heat of the inlet gas.
and its significance lies in the fact that O/GCpgIN TIN is the ratio of the electromagnetic energy
dissipated in the wet material to the energy contained in the inlet air. The power used in the
evaporating process in the dryer is given by,

for the usual assumptions used in obtaining the adiabatic temperature where TgIN, TgOUT are
the inlet and outlet air temperatures.
Comparing this expression with that corresponding to convective heating alone shows that for the
given assumptions, the effect of the electromagnetic energy is equivalent to an increased inlet
temperature of,

as far as calculating the outlet values from normal hot air psychometric charts. This does not
mean that in a real drying situation increasing the air temperature has the same effect as
volumetric heating - remember an idealised wet surface is being used here.
Calculated values of the outlet temperature as a function of Q/GCpgIN for two inlet temperatures
and three values of outlet relative humidity are shown in Figure 2.1. The ratio of the energy used
in evaporation to the input energy as a function of the effective inlet temperature is shown in
Figure 2.2.

Pgina 38 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.1 Calculated outlet air temperature as a function of Q/GcpgIN (after Perkin, 1983b)

Figure 2.2 Energy used in evaporation process/total input energy versus effective inlet
temperature for different outlet relative humidities QGOUT

As would be expected in the light of Table 2.1, as the relative amount of electromagnetic energy
increases so the temperatures of the outlet air and wet surface increase as does the fraction of
energy utilised. For a hygroscopic solid compared to a free moisture surface the temperatures are
higher and the utilisation lower due to the reduced heat transfer from the air stream or the
increased heat transfer to the air stream depending upon the initial air temperature.
Pgina 39 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.4 Drying Characteristics - Basis of Modelling
The modified adiabatic saturation and wet bulb temperatures have been derived for a wet surface
and negligible internal resistance to heat and mass transfer, in reality solids will usually have one
or both of these. The review of the moisture flow mechanisms suggested that dielectric heating
can in certain circumstances overcome the internal resistance to mass flow and, at least, will
generally improve the moisture flow to the surface. Consequently the results above may not be
too wide of the mark as far as they go. Certainly the parameters qb/hT and Q/GCpgIN are useful
when initially trying to categorise a given drying operation:- q can be estimated from the solid's
dimensions and from the intended power input while hT can be taken from standard correlations.
However information is needed on the moisture, temperature, partial pressure, and total pressure
variations within the wet solid so that the suitability and effectiveness of the dielectric drying can
be judged.
In common with modelling of conventional drying the main difficulty is the lack of physical data
which now includes dielectric data. Where such data are available the results from modelling
have been most encouraging in terms of successfully predicting the course of the drying.
Fortunately, in modelling the high power density drying encountered when the dielectric heating is
dominant some useful simplifications can be made. However, it is in the domain of the
combinational drying where the dielectric component is perhaps only 1/10 of the total energy that
the interesting effects due to the improved internal mass flow can be anticipated and it is here that
with a few notable exceptions the modelling lacks data. Even so some qualitative results can be
obtained which are a useful guide. Some results from the available modelling will now be given.
The internal heat and mass transfer is usually described by the standard Luikov (1966) equations
or one of the recent equivalent, but more convenient representations. Luikov's equations can be
expressed as,
Mass flow of Moisture

Where:

jm = -D(X + T T + p P)o

Heat Flow

Total Pressure

Pgina 40 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Where:
o = the density of the dry skeleton solid,
jm = total mass flux,
jv, jl = mass flux in vapour, liquid phase,
D = overall transport coefficient for internal mass flow,
T, p =
flux coefeicients related to temperature and pressure gradients,
Cps, Cpl = specific heat of solid, liquid phases of wet solid,
X = moisture content,
ev = ratio of vapour to total moisture flow
Ca = mass capacity of gas
Ap = pressure permeability
T = temperature
These equations assume that the solid matrix does not change shape and that "locally" the three
phases are in equilibrium. The moisture content X equals Xl + Xv the mass concentrations of the
liquid and vapour phase divided by the density of the dry skeleton solid.
The important features are the inclusion of the volumetric energy source q and the equation for
the total pressure inside the material. The terms proportional to the temperature and pressure
gradients in the expression for the mass flux jm often neglected in conventional drying, can be
significant for dielectric/combined drying. One term, missing from these equations but still
retained in Whitaker's set of equations is the internal convective heat transport which is often
neglected in comparison with the heat flow by conduction (I.Thitaker, 1977), but which for
completeness should be retained since it can be significant in some cases, see for example (Wei,
1984).
For a dryer in which the humidity of the external airstream is changing these equations must be
supplemented by heat and mass transfer to the external airstream choosing, for simplicity, either
plug or well mixed flow of the airstream (Perkin, 1983).

2.5 Drying Characteristics - Experimental and Theoretical Results


As a means of categorising the different drying regimes results will be given for sheets and webs,
blocks and slabs and then particulates in the form of a bed with air flow across and through the
bed. Values of the parameter qb/hT for typical practical applications will be used to further
subdivide where appropriate.
For this purpose the results from section 1.6 regarding upper limits on the volumetric power
absorption are used, that is Emax ~ 100 kV/m, " 1, for the various frequencies.
Characteristic experimental results will be given first and then the appropriate theory, where it
exists, will follow.

2.5.1 Webs and sheets - large power density


2.5.1.1 Introduction
The conventional drying of webs and sheets often produces irregular moisture profiles across the
width of the sheet due to uneven heat transfer. The selective energy absorption of dielectric
heating can be exploited to reduce these differences and at the same time the rate of removal of
free or loosely bound moisture held in the pendular state at the end of the drying process can be
increased. Practical methods use strayfield or staggered through field rf applicator ovens or
microwave serpentine waveguides (see Part 3 Sections 1 and 3).
Pgina 41 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.5.1.2 Experimental results
Experimental results for the final drying of paper webs in an rf dryer with a through-field"
applicator are shown in Figure 2.3. The first shows the variation in moisture content of a web as it
passes through the dryer. The second, taken from an industrial installation, shows the moisture
profile across the web and illustrates the ability of the rf drying to level out uneven profiles (the
one shown is extreme and was due to a malfunction in the conventional dryer prior to the rf). The
moisture was removed down to the equilibrium moisture content where the moisture was
moderately bound.

Figure 2.3 a) Comparison of measured and calculated moisture profiles b) Effect of radiofrequency
on a bad moisture profile in paper

Pgina 42 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.5.1.3 Theory
In general, the relevant values for the parameters are, using E ~ 100 kV/m, " ~ 1, hT ~ 10
W/m2C, web thicknesses 2d > 0.1 mm, 60C < qb/hT < l04C so that the drying could lie in either
range: an estimate of q will establish which it is. Values of the Biot numbers are, BiT < 0.1, BiM ~
1. In the modelling work for the paper drying (Jones, 1981), the internal resistance to heat and
mass transfer was assumed to be negligible, experimental vapour pressure isotherms were used
to obtain the vapour pressure of the moisture at the surface and the air flow was well mixed. The
electric field was initially taken as constant through the dryer - the analysis showed that the exact
variation was not important. The peak value of qb/hT was about 10 3C.
The internal heat and mass transfer equations reduce to a form similar to equation 2.3 the
modified wet bulb equation.
Calculated values of the moisture content and temperature along the length of the dryer are
shown in Figure 2.4 for two values of initial moisture content. The drying features are reproduced,
although in the early stages, due to the neglect of the mass resistance, the moisture started
decreasing earlier than the experimental results showed. The levelling effect can be clearly seen.
This aspect can be derived in a simple manner from the heat and mass equations since for large
qb/hT the heat transfer to the air stream can be neglected and for quasi steady conditions -dT/dt
0 and dXV/dt ~ 0 - the internal heat generation has created the required vapour gradient to
counter the resistance to vapour flow - the mass transfer reduces to an equation for the moisture
content of the solid,

which for the loss factor varying, say, linearly with Xl and the E field constant exhibits the required
moisture levelling effect, that is dXl/dt is proportional to the moisture content.

Figure 2.4 Drying of Paper Webs at 27.12 MHz, typical theoretical results for 2 webs initially at
diffferent moisture contents. Distance is measured along the direction of travel of the webs from
the initial point of application of the rf heating.

Pgina 43 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Comparison of a theoretically generated moisture profile using limited data, Figure 2.3b, shows
excellent agreement with that measured experimentally.
In general, the simplified equations, assuming no resistance to internal heat and mass transfer
are adequate in the first instance for thin webs and sheets unless the particular material has a
structure which causes significant resistance to mass flow in which case the treatment to be given
for blocks is more appropriate.

2.5.2 Webs and sheets - low power densities


The application of low power densities to situations where the moisture is in the pendular state so
that the moisture flow is predominantly in the vapour phase would make little sense since the
drying characteristics would still be those of slow air drying. If the moisture is held as continuous
threads then for webs and sheets air drying will be efficient and again the use of low power
densities would only be contemplated if the structure of the material, for example if it were a
laminate, prevented unhindered moisture flow. The low power aspects are treated in the next
section.
One category of wet solids which does not fit into this picture is foamed material. A comparison of
hot air and microwave drying of a foam mat of tomato paste, thickness 3.2 min, diameter of
sample tray 0.29m, with an air flow of 0.18 M3/s and variable microwave input is shown in Figure
2.5. For the microwave drying final temperatures recorded were from 87 - 98 C corresponding to
increasing power.
These values were higher than for the hot air drying but due to the faster process time no
degradation in the properties of the paste was found. Unfortunately, without the temperature
history there is no way of knowing whether the high temperatures were due to absorption by the
dry solid, at the end of drying or, alternatively, the drying was carried out at higher temperatures.
For the latter, given the operating parameters, this would imply significant resistance to mass
transfer to achieve such high temperatures. Be that as it may, the microwave drying is seen to be
much faster.

Figure 2.5 Drying of tomato paste (after Rzepecka-Stuchly, 1976).

Pgina 44 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.5.3 Drying of blocks and slabs - large power densities
2.5.3.1 Introduction
With materials of thickness 2d > 20 mm both internal resistance to heat flow and mass transfer by
vapour diffusion can be expected. As long as capillary flow can maintain a significant flow of
moisture to the surface and the external heat transfer is adequate then, the use of dielectric
heating as the main evaporative energy source will usually be uneconomic. However where the
pores of the material are coarse, as frequently applies, for example in textile drying, then capillary
flow cannot be sustained even at large moisture contents and the moisture movement occurs by
vapour flow. In this instance the use of dielectric heating to supply all the energy for evaporation
can be economic.
2.5.3.2 Experimental results
Typical drying results are shown in Figure 2.6 curve 2, for the microwave drying of cotton yarn
wound on a central spindle to give a cylindrical package 200mm in diameter. lt is seen with curve
2 that there is little moisture removal until the temperature of the bulk of the package is at 1OOC
(the surface always remained slightly cooler due to evaporation) and is accompanied by an
increase in the internal pressure.
Thereafter the drying rate was found to be directly proportional to the power input - it was boiled
off. The moisture content distribution across the diameter was found to remain uniform. Curve I
shows a situation where the package was initially saturated with moisture and mechanical
removal of moisture occurred in the early stages. Whilst this "sweating" of moisture to the surface
is not uncommon significant mechanical removal by an air stream is and in general curve 2 is
more characteristic.

Figure 2.6 Experimental results for the Drying of Cotton Yarn with Microwaves (a) Moisture content
with Time (b) Pressure and temperature near the centre of the Package versus Time

Pgina 45 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.5.3.3 Theory
In this case, typically the maximum range of values of qb/hT is ~ 750 - 106 C (Perkin, 1983a).
This situation is relatively easy to model (Perkin, 1980). lt can be assumed that the drying takes
place in three stages:

Heating to the boiling point, no evaporation, internal resistance to mass flow large;

Internal evaporation, negligible mass flow, internal pressure gradient established to


overcome mass flow resistance;

Internal evaporation matched by mass flow to and away from the surface, the moisture is
boiled off.

The duration of the first period can be estimated from sensible heat calculations. The second
interval can be taken as negligible provided there is not too much resistance to vapour flow. In
practice this jeans that the pores must not be too fine otherwise the pressure needed to overcome
the resistance can ruptura the material. The third period requires knowledge of the dielectric
power input. Towards the end of drying, if the power absorbed by the moisture falls then, either
the temperature of the solid can fall, or alternatively if the skeleton solid - dry solid and/or bound
water - can absorb power the temperature can rise above boiling point due to there being
insufficient moisture to act as a heat sink. An example of beech wood drying, see Figure 2.7,
illustrates this point.

Pgina 46 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.7 Moisture content (Dry basis) and Temperature Curves for Drying. Beechwood. Inset:
Loss Factor data (after Perkin, 1979)
An approximate expression for the maximum pressure PMAX generated is obtained from the heat
and pressure equations:

Where: Ca ~
= porosity of solid,
RG = gas constant
T = temperature C

and an order of magnitude value of Ap is found from


for steam at 100C with the
viscosity , held in parallel pores of radius R. For fine pored materials of diameter < 10 microns
Pgina 47 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


and large thickness the value of d/Ap can impose restrictions on the permissible power input if
some critical pressure is not to be exceeded.
The moisture removal in the third phase is found from,

where jm and p/z are evaluated at the surface of the wet solid which for dP/dt ~ 0 gives

Once again if the absorbed power is proportional to the moisture content then levelling of uneven
profiles can be achieved. Using such a simplified model good agreement was found between
theory and experiment for curves for the cotton drying.

2.5.4 Combinational Drying of blocks and slabs.


2.5.4.1 Introduction
It would generally be uneconomic to use solely dielectric heating to dry materials which can
sustain capillary flow to the surface.
In some instances however it could prove economic to simultaneously apply conventional and
dielectric heating to provide evaporative energy. The idea would be to utilize the effective part of
the convencional drying process usually at high moisture contents and augment this with the
volumetric dielectric heating which could cause internal evaporation and/or promote internal
moisture flow. In this way the dielectric component, and hence capital cost of the equipment
would be less than for dielectric drying alone. For example the dielectric beating might constitute,
say, half of the total energy input.
An alternative proposal (Lefeuvre, 1981) is to use even less dielectric energy, 5-10% of the total
energy input, to provide mainly sensible heating to create a temperature gradient which promotes
the internal moisture flow, allowing flow to the surface of the material to be sustained for a greater
proportion of the drying operation, thereby enabling the conventional drying at the surface to
remain effective. With difficult materials case hardening could be avoided.
What exactly constitutes an economic case and hence acceptable values of qb/hT and Q/GCpg is
open to question and obviously depends upon the wet material concerned. As far as the drying
kinetics are concerned, in practice there is probably not a clear cut divide between the two
regimes where the dielectric energy is either utilised for evaporation or sensible heating, both will
take place. However one or other will usually be dominant according to how much dielectric
heating is used relative to the amount of energy required for sensible heating. The latter can be
based on, say, a product temperature equal to 1) the wet bulb temperature for drying without
dielectric heating, and 2) the boiling point of water, 100C, to obtain upper and lower bounds on
the estimate. A number of models have been developed giving qualitative and in a few limited
cases quantitative information. Whilst more direct confirmation of the results from laboratory
experiments is required and the full range of possible mechanisms which enhance the moisture
flow has still to be examined there is no doubt that such effects are real. One type of industrial
dryer, the "air, radio frequency assisted" dryer (ARFA) has been developed specifically to exploit
these effects. In addition a combinational air and microwave dryer from the Microdry
Pgina 48 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Corporation almost certainly utilises the different flow mechanisms but at lower moisture contents.
2.5.4.2 Experimental results
Drying rate curves for fibreboard panels in a combinational dryer are shown in Figure 2.8. A
synergistic increase in the combinational drying as compared to the sum of the individual drying
rates is apparent at low moisture contents. Whether this is due to enhanced capillary flow or the
different drying history which produces a more even moisture profile cannot be determined from
these results alone but an effect is apparent.

Pgina 49 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 50 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 2.8 a) Drying Rate Curves for Veneer b) Drying Rate Curves for Veneer Illustrating the
Synergistic Effect at Low Moisture Levels for Simultaneous.Application at Microwaves and Hot Air
(After Smith, 1979).
Curves for drying with hot air, and hot air combined with microwaves are shown in Figure 2.9 for a
sample of sandstone 50 mm diameter and 170 mm long. The qb/hT value was about 100C a
moderate value which suggests both energy sources could contribute. The temperature inversion
in the case of the combinational drying is clearly seen. The temperatures indicate that whilst in
the early stages liquid flow and evaporation at the surface were probably operating, in the later
stages significant interna evaporation could have occurred.

Figure 2.9 Temperature Histograms and Evaporative rate Curves of Sandstone in (a) 121 C
Convective air, (b) in 100W Microwave air at 20 C (c) in 100W Microwave and 121 C Convective
Air (After Wei, 1984)
Drying curves and temperature profiles for the drying of a ceramic tile in which the energy
sources, infra red radiation and rf energy, are pulsed - turned on and off for specified periods - are
shown in Figure 2.10. Pulsed techniques are used to prevent the internal temperatures reaching
boiling point and creating steam which would rupture the ceramic. Moisture flow occurs in the
liquid phase, initially to the surface. With the infra red heating alone the surface dries out and the
evaporation plane retreats. The temperature gradient opposes the moisture flow in the liquid
phase. The rf drying reverses the temperature profile and assists the liquid flow giving rise to
higher local moisture contents at the surface where evaporation takes place. The energy input is
governed by the temperature limitation, temperature < 100C. The aim in combining the two
heating methods so that one operated in the period when the other was off was to use the infra
red for evaporation and the rf energy for liquid pumping. With the combination the temperature
gradients were diminished but still directed to assist the liquid flow and the surface temperature
was increased when compared to that for the same time for the individual heating. Consequently
the drying rate was increased yet the surface temperature remained below that of the infra red
drying alone almost up to the end of the drying, suggesting that the liquid pumping remained
effective enough to keep the surface wet. The combined drying rate is approximately equal to the
sum of the individual rates.

Pgina 51 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.10 Drying with rf and Infra-red Heating


2.5.4.3 Theory
As a guide to the possibilities of combination drying when the dielectric heating provides
significant evaporative power, we can return to the equations for the enhanced wet bulb and
Pgina 52 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


modified adiabatic saturation temperatures treated in sections 2.3.1 and 2.3.2. The rate of
evaporation derived from equation 2.4 represents the optimum performance which could be
achieved. Of course this simplified approach using the above ideas gives no indication of the
internal mass transport effects which can occur.
Several groups have examined the internal heat and mass transfer for the combinational drying at
small values of qb/hT where effects due to the temperature gradient rather than evaporation due
to dielectric heating can be expected (Lefeuvre, 1978 and 1981, Wei, 1984). If liquid flow is
assumed to be predominant then a simple model using constant coefficients can be used to
derive a necessary but not sufficient criteria for the inversion of the moisture profile (Perkin, 1979
and 1983a).
For one dimensional flow the heat and mass balance at the surface gives

where T/z is negative. Since the effect of the electromagnetic energy is assumed to be small in
comparison with the hot air, the value of the first term on the right is taken to be that for the hot air
drying alone. It is seen that a necessary but not sufficient condition for XL/z = 0 is that k/r < DL
0 T : the increase in the rate of evaporation at the surface of the solid due to the heat
conducted from the centre must be less than the increase in mass flux to the surface. Without this
condition the liquid pumping at low power densities will not be seen. Substituting for T/z, the
condition for XL/z = 0 at the surface, with eV = 0, is

As with the liquid pumping at high power, the presence of this effect depends very much on the
properties of the material, DL, T, k, the initial state in which the moisture is held and the way it
redistributes itself during drying.
The effect of internal evaporation is to decrease this effect due to the temperature gradient but
could well introduce new effects as a result of the increase in internal pressure - the filtrational
liquid flow.
The theoretical model for the sandstone takes into account internal convective heat flow and
liquid and vapour mass flow (Wei, 1984). Unfortunately the theoretical results have not been
given for the conditions corresponding to the experimental results of Figure 2.9, only a lower
power of 60 W and an air temperature of 20 C are available, see Figure 2.11, and in this case
qb/hT was equal to 130 C. The moisture and temperature temporal variations are in good
agreement with the experimental values so there is good reason to accept the other theoretical
curves for internal moisture, pressure, vapour pressure profiles as seen in Figure 2.11. The
inversion of the moisture profile is seen. The magnitudes and directions of the various fluxes for
the combination of air and microwaves are given in a convenient form in Figure 2.12. Moisture
flow is predominantly in the liquid phase and the author states that a good proportion of the
absorbed microwave energy arrives at the surface, via the convective heat flux, where it raises
the temperature as compared to the hot air drying alone and hence increases the rate of
evaporation at the surface. The temperatures remain well below the boiling point. Of interest is
the fact that the liquid, driven by the temperature and pressure gradients, flows in the direction of
increasing liquid content, and the moisture profile remains almost uniform throughout the latter
stages of drying.
Pgina 53 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.11 Calculated Drying Curves for 60W Microwaves, 20 C Air, (after Wei, 1984)

Pgina 54 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.12 Fluid Flow Patterns for 60W Microwaves


Given that mass flow to the surface is maintained and that the microwave energy is directed
towards the surface, the modified wet bulb equation considered earlier could represent a realistic
limiting condition.
Important questions which remain to be answered are, given that the heat and mass flow
coefficients have values which make moisture inversion possible, how small can the dielectric
heating contribution be before useful liquid pumping is no longer possible and to what extent does
the pore structure of the material govern pumping effects by the various mechanisms.

2.5.5 Drying of particulate beds - drying with dielectric heating.


2.5.5.1 Introduction
If the air flow is across the bed rather than through it then the hot air contributes little to the drying
energy and the bed can exhibit similar drying characteristics to the blocks and slabs. The bed
itself will exhibit resistance to liquid and heat flow while individual granules or particles can have
internal resistance to heat and mass flow. Provided the diameter of the particles is > 100 microns
the bed itself offers little resistance to vapour flow and negligible pressure is built up in the bed.
Since the particles do not form a rigid bed any pressure generated in the case of very fine
particles is relieved by the vapour channelling through the bed.
2.5.5.2 Experimental results
Drying and temperature curves for fixed bed drying using microwaves are shown in Figure 2.13
for alumina pellets, silica gel particles and wheat grains. The first material. is largely nonhygroscopic and has negligible resistance to mass flow. The silica gel is at the opposite extreme strongly hygroscopic with internal resistance to mass flow. The wheat is moderately hygroscopic
and its shell forms a barrier to mass flow. The alumina exhibits the expected characteristic - little
evaporation until the temperature reaches 100 C after which the moisture is boiled off at this
temperature. The silica gel increases in temperature throughout, it has no unique boiling point.
The wheat is not to dissimilar to the alumina until the end of the drying when its temperature
increases significantly. lt was observed after drying that the grains had been puffed out to about
twice their original size indicating internal evaporation.

Pgina 55 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.13 Drying Curves for Silica Gel - Bed Depth 40mm a) Initial Moisture Content 40% b)
Initial Moisture Content 12%
2.5.5.3 Theory
The alumina drying can be treated using the model for blocks, section 2.5.3. The wheat likewise
appears to conform to this model as far as the moisture removal from the bed as a whole is
concerned but the drying of individual grains is more complex. The silica gel exhibits little
moisture loss until the temperature reaches 100 C and up to this point can be treated with the
same model, thereafter the model must be modified to take account of the changing vapour
pressure as the binding of the remaining moisture increases. The rate of total moisture removal is
given by

Where: dV, dA are differential volumes and areas.


HB = binding energy.
As the solid dries, the temperature increases in an attempt to compensate for the decrease in
Pvs.

2.5.6 Combinational drying of particulate beds - throughflow of air.


2.5.6.1 Introduction
When the air flows through the bed it comes into contact with individual particles so that with the
same power density for the dielectric heating the drying rate can be increased due to the
Pgina 56 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


contribution from the air. The combinational drying and temperature curves are shown for the
alumina, silica gel and wheat for a through flow of air for the same conditions as before.
In all cases the particle temperatures as represented by the values at the bed outlet are lower
than for the corresponding microwave only drying. The alumina shows a temperature plateau for
much of the drying and the rate of moisture removal is of the same order but smaller than the sum
of the individual drying rates. The drying rates for the silica gel are about the same as for the
microwave drying alone, the only benefit appears to be the absence of the warming up phase
(little evaporation) and the lower temperatures obtained. Similarly for the wheat the drying rates
are about the same. Puffing of the wheat was again observed.
2.5.6.2 Theory
Modelling of this situation requires the simultaneous solution of the transport equations for the
particles and the airstream (Perkin, 1983, 1983b). An example of the variation of the humidity YG
and temperature of the air stream and the temperature of the solids is shown in Figure 2.14 for a
notional solid which remains wet and has negligible internal resistance to heat and mass transfer
(compare with the wet surface for the modified wet bulb equation earlier). It can be seen that the
heat transfer from the air stream occurs in the initial part of the bed as would be the case for air
drying alone.

Pgina 57 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.14 Computed Variations in Airstream Humidity YG and Temperature TG, and Solids
Temperature TS as a function of Relative Distance through the Fixed Bed, (after Perkin, 1983a)
However, instead of the air stream and solid reaching an equilibrium, the dielectric heating forces
the solid's temperature above that of the airstream so that there is heat flow from the particles to
the air. Consequently, with the increase in temperature of the airstream complete saturation does
not take place so moisture transfer into the air can still take place. Provided the number of
transfer units is greater than about 4 the air emerges almost saturated Ygout > 0.9 Ysat (Tgout).
The fact that the air is practically saturated allows the model for the modified adiabatic
temperature, section 2.3.2, to be used to calculate the outlet temperature and humidity and the
rate of moisture removal from the bed. A comparison of the loss in moisture calculated on this
basis with experimental results for drying the fixed bed of alumina with hot air and combined hot
air and rf energy is shown in Figure 2.15, the points representing results for different conditions of
air flow and temperature and rf power inputs. The agreement is good until the end of the drying
when the alumina exhibits resistance to mass flow and the conditions for a saturated air stream
Pgina 58 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


break down because most of the bed is dry. The plateau in the air outlet temperature is an
indication of the duration of the quasi saturated period of drying see Figure 2.13a.

Figure 2.15 Testing of Modified Adiabatic Temperature Model for Non-Hydroscopic,


Partciles with Negligible Internal Resistance to Mass Flow (Alumina)
For batch drying in a bed in which the particles are well-mixed fluidised or spouted beds the
particles dry at the same rate and drying out of one part of the bed before the rest is not seen. In
this case the model using the overall energy balance will apply throughout the drying provided the
conditions for near saturation of the outlet air applies in the first place. Of course the value of Q,
the total absorbed electromagnetic energy, can vary as the drying proceeds.
The batch situation above can be thought of as an elemental portion of a continuous dryer.
Consequently a continuous dryer can be modelled by of considering a number of such elements
through the dryer, with the time spent in each element determined from the residence time of the
particles in the dryer.
The equivalent saturation condition at the outlet for hygroscopic solids is that the relative
humidities of the air and the surface of the particles are the same. This enables the outlet air
temperature to be calculated as a function of relative humidity but this is of limited use because
the temporal variation of the relative humidity of the outlet particles is unknown. The model is
useful in as much as it will give some idea of the temperatures of the air and solids if the range of
relative humidities is known. This was confirmed for the drying of the silica gel and wheat but is of
limited practical use - a drying test is more informative.

2.6 Modelling of Freeze Drying


The successful use of microwaves for freeze drying has been found to be critically dependent on
the properties of the wet solid and consequently there has been much modelling carried out.
Pgina 59 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Since this form of drying is not, as far as the author is aware, likely to be commercially available in
the near future it is not discussed further. A good source of references for the modelling is Arsen

2.7 Vacuum Drying


This form of drying can be modelled using the "boiling point" drying already considered for blocks
and beds with the appropriate reduction in boiling point temperature due to the vacuum.

2.8 Overview of Modelling and the Use of Drying Tests


The existing modelling is useful in that it defines the general drying regimes and where it has
been carried out with known transport coefficients has proved successful in predicting the drying
history.
Much more data on these transport coefficients and dielectric data particularly at elevated
temperatures are required. Much more modelling remains to be carried out particularly for the
combinational drying of blocks and particulate beds of hygroscopic materials to establish the
usefulness and applicability of liquid pumping.
Drying tests on laboratory or pilot plant provide a relatively quick way of establishing the drying
characteristics and small scale tests are reasonably accurate in determining the suitability of
dielectric heating because in many cases the only major difference between the bench test and
the full scale dryer from the heat and mass transfer point of view is the energy distribution and
sometimes the power densities involved.
In carrying out drying tests it is important that the power densities used should correspond to
those envisaged on the full size dryer if meaningful predictions are to be made. The temptation is
to push as much power as possible into as small a sample as possible to show large increases in
drying rate. Such an approach is seldom useful. Further, it should be recognised that in
convective drying of a small sample in a relatively large oven much of the heat in the hot air is not
utilised because the surface area presented to the air stream is relatively small. Most of the heat
is merely exhausted. In contrast with dielectric heating the energy is essentially delivered only to
the material - there are always some losses but these are generally small. Consequently
comparisons between drying rates with the various energy sources can be misleading. Where
possible, in comparing data, drying tests should be carried out for conventional drying only,
dielectric drying only, and where appropriate the combination of the two under otherwise identical
conditions.

Pgina 60 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.9 Principal Symbols Section Two
Ap
pressure permeability
BiT,M Biot number for heat (T) and mass (M) flow
H
ratio of volume to area
Cps, Cpl
specific heat of solid, liquid phases of wet material
Ca
mass capacity of gas
CpgIN
specific beat of inlet gas
dA, dV
differential area, volume
eV
ratio of vapour to total moisture flow
D
Overall transport coefficient for internal mass flow
DL
effective diffusion coefficient for liquid flows
DV
vapour diffusion coefficient
E
electric field strength
G
mass flow of air
HB
binding energy
hT
heat transfer coefficient for convective flow
jm
total mass flux
jv, jl
mass flux in vapour, and liquid phases
k
thermal conductivity
kM
mass transfer coefficient for convective flow
Mg, ML
molecular weight of liquid
Po
atmospheric pressure
PMAX
maximum internal pressure
PVS, PVC
partial vapour pressure for wet surface, air stream
Q
total electromagnetic power absorbed
q
electromagnetic energy absorbed per unit volume
RG
gas constant
r
latent heat of evaporation
2d
thickness of material
TgIN, TgOUT inlet and outlet temperatures air temperatures
T
temperature
Tg, Ts
temperature of gas, solid
X
moisture content
Xl, Xv
mass concentrations of liquid and vapour phases
YG
humidity of airstream
YG(sat)
humidity of saturated airstream
YG(Out)
outlet humidity
z
spatial coordinate
T
correction factor for hT
T, p
flux coefficients for temperature and pressure

loss factor

porosity of solid
o
density of skeleton solid
G
density of air

Pgina 61 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

PARTE 3

Pgina 62 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

1. INDUSTRIAL RADIO FREQUENCY DRYERS


1.1 Introduction
In this chapter commercially available rf dryers in which the radio frequency energy alone is the
source of evaporative energy will be considered. As, has already been mentioned in Part 1
Section 2, the dryers are essentially tunnel dryers with the material to be dried held between two
sets of electrodes which form a capacitor, which in turn is part of the "applicator" circuit. The rf
power generator is connected to these electrodes and a high frequency voltage is applied to the
condenser plates creating an electric field within the material, which heats the moisture by the
motion of the polar molecules and ions due to salts dissolved in the moisture. The principles
underlying the operation of these rf circuits are discussed in chapter eleven while information
concerning the rf components used is given Section 2.

1.1.1 Classification of dryers


It is convenient to classify the dryers according to the general shape and size of the materials to
be dried that is,
1. sheets and webs,
2.blocks and slabs,
3. particulates.
The distinction between webs and slabs, and slabs and blocks is somewhat arbitrary. Slabs will
he taken to mean material with a thickness too great to use "strayfield" electrodes but capable of
heating in a "staggered" or rod through field", say about 5 mm < thickness < 50 mm, and blocks
are taken as anything with a thickness above this. Illustrations of the different electrode types
follow shortly in the relevant sections.
By and large most existing industrial applications fall into categories (1) and (2), while the few
examples from (3) use similar forms of equipment. It should be emphasised that where details of
dryer units have been supplied by manufacturers it was on the understanding that they are
intended for general guidance only and do not represent design specifications. Further the
information used is that which was available at the time of writing and does not purport to
represent products from all possible sources. Generally, manufacturers are constantly upgrading
equipment to meet changing materials and statutory requirements. Radio frequency energy can
be used in the batch mode provided the power is controlled appropriately as the product dries out
- often it would become necessary to lower the power input and drying proceeds to avoid arcing.

1.1.2 Applicator ovens


The applicator capacitors in which the material is heated and dried are almost exclusively derived
from parallel plate electrodes or rod electrodes arranged to give a "strayfield", "staggered through
field" or "through-field" configuration. In principle other designs are possible, see section 2.5.
From the viewpoint of the rf operation the oven cabinet is essentially an enclosed metal box,
broken only by the feed ports and viewing windows, used to contain the rf fields and high voltages
so isolating them from the outside world. The electrodes are supported on a rigid frame which is
isolated from the cabinet by ceramic or glass fibre electrical insulators in the case of live
electrodes or bonded to ground with copper straps in the case of an earthed electrode.

Pgina 63 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Leaving aside the rf aspects, the dryers are simple tunnel dryers made from either sheet steel
shot blasted and aluminium sprayed, stainless steel, or aluminium, dependent on the application.
Material is either pulled through (web material) or carried on a belt so all parts of the product have
the same residence time. Whilst the air might not provide any significant evaporative energy,
forced ventilation, albeit greatly reduced compared to conventional dryers, is very important from
the point of view of removing the evaporating moisture without condensation occurring within the
cabinet.

1.1.3 Industrial systems


Examples of available dryers presently in commercial use will he taken from the food, paper and
textile industries, areas where rf systems have made their greatest impact. This is not to say that
rf is not used elsewhere but rather they have been chosen because standard items of equipment,
rather than one offs exist in these industries. In any case it will be seen that the nature of the
equipment is such that provided the material has suitable dielectric properties and falls into one of
the categories above, then one of the existing designs, can often he adapted for use. For
example a plate electrode system can equally be used for the drying of textiles, glass fibre cake
or common salt.
Often the dryer forms an integral part of some process which involves specialised equipment to
either side of the drying stage. The dryer may incorporate appropriate handling equipment and
control circuitry and will therefore often be of a size determined by the process rather than the
drying requirement.
Before describing these systems we will briefly look at the rf generator and give typical
dimensions of some of the smaller units.

1.2 RF Generators
The electrical components are again housed in a metal box to confine the H.T. and rf voltages. All
meters on the control display panel are suitably protected and isolated from rf fields and large
voltages.
Commonly the generator is directly connected to the applicator chamber, the two cabinets
effectively forming a continuous box. Side, or vertical mounting on top of the dryer cabinet, is
usual. Where remote positioning of the generator is necessary the feed from the tank circuit can
he achieved with a transmission line suitably shielded with an outer earthed metal enclosure. For
remote operation the standard precautions against voltage drop along the leads to the meters on
the control panel must be observed so that false readings are, not obtained.
Triodes tubes are available up to about 600 kW rf power output. Commonly produced generators
are available as single units up to about 100 kW, Siemans and Plustherm AG, have produced a
large 600 kW unit generating at 13.56 MHz. Most units operate in the 27.12 MHz band because
the allowed bandwidth is larger, but there is a sizable minority using the 13.56 MHz band which
can be better suited to large arrays.
Some generator details for outputs up to 20 kW at 27.12 MHz, are given in Figure 1.1. For
comparison,Figure 1.2 shows details for 10, 25 and 60 kW generators at 13.56 MHz
manufactured by Plustherm AG.
Sizes for some of the other outputs at 27.12 MHz can be seen from examples of the complete
dryer which will he given in the following sections.

Pgina 64 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 1.1 Parameters for some rf Generators at 27.12 MHz (Courtesy Strayfield International)
Figure 1.2 Parameters for some 13.5 Mhz Generators (Courtesy of Plustherm AG)

1.3 Drying of web and sheet material- - Strayfield Electrodes


Dryers encompassing both ends of the available output power range are used in different aspects
of the paper industry to achieve a better quality product and greater energy utilisation.

1.3.1 Large power output dryers 200-900 kW rf power


Siemans have produced several large paper drying installations based on 13.56 MHz generators
and strayfield electrodes. The object of the drying is to improve the moisture profile across the
pattern web and improve the energy utilization at the dry end of the process. A schematic of a
900 kW rf output power installation is shown in Figure 1.3. The four sets of electrodes are
mounted in metal enclosures in the basement below the conventional steam drying cylinders, and
the power is provided by two generators each capable of up to 600 kW rf output. The paper webs
are held off the electrodes, 2 mm clearance, and guided by deflection rollers. Typically, the rf
voltage appearing across the electrodes is several kilovolts.

Pgina 65 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 66 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 1.3 Strayfield Electrode System for 600 kW Paper Dryer (after Grassman, 1979)
A flow of hot air, 120C, removes the water vapour. The operating web width is 5 m. The system
is used to increase the drying capacity by up to 20% and improve the quality. Typical moisture
profiles with and without rf are shown in Figure 1.4. The reliability of the equipment after
installation was soon able to meet that of the existing plant. The average availability of the rf dryer
in the first year of service was judged to be 97%.

Figure 1.4 Moisture Profiles with and without rf (after Grassmann, 1979)

Pgina 67 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


A smaller but similar unit, with up to 200 kW rf output, based on two pairs of strayfield electrodes
handling webs up to 2 m at speeds of 33 to 100 m per minute has been installed at James
Cropper plc in the UK. The rf unit replaced two conventional cylinder after - dryers to provide
moisture profile correction.
These installations have demonstrated that large power units can be successfully operated and
despite their high cost can produce financial savings due to the improved product quality.

1.3.2 Small power output dryers < 20 kW's rf power


A good example where rf drying is integrated with accompanying equipment is in the paper
converting industry where rf is used to dry water based adhesives when making business
stationary, mailer forms, envelopes, forms with tear-out labels, and to dry water based
varnishings on book covers, display packaging and glossy publicity material.
The problem associated with conventional drying of the glue line on, say, an envelope is that in
order to achieve rapid drying high temperatures are required. Unfortunately these temperatures
are seen by the rest of the paper which has no need of treatment and can deteriorate in quality
due to the high temperature to which they are subjected. In other cases where business
stationary consisting of a number of sheets is stuck together and heat is applied to cure the glue,
the glue line is not directly accessible to the heating medium: drying is slow and water can be
trapped so diminishing the quality. Compared with the associated processes the drying can be
very much slower in order to avoid the loss in quality.
Consequently a production bottle neck results.
The attraction of rf is that it directly and preferentially heats the glue lines so that the drying is
speeded up while the energy consumption is reduced, the material other than the glue remaining
cool, see Figure 1.5. The uniform drying produces a better quality product. The rf units can be
readily integrated with the accompanying feeders, gluers, folders and stackers. Specifications for
the various processes based on 6,12 and 20 kW rf generators are shown in Table 1.1. The dryer
units can be mounted horizontally or vertically.

Pgina 68 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 1.5 Schematic of Typical Electrode Configuration a) Styrayfield System b)
Staggered Throughfield System (Electricity Council)

1.4 Drying of slabs - through field and staggered through field rod
electrodes
The post baking of biscuits and cereal products is a long established area where rf drying is used.
The conventional direct or indirect band oven is very efficient during the initial stages of baking
when the products have high moisture contents and are therefore good heat conductors. As the
baking progresses however crusts form and thermally insulate the interior of the product. The
efficiency of heating decreases dramatically to levels of about 5%. Because of this, the baking
times have to be considerably increased in order to achieve a correct moisture level with the right
colour effect. This moisture/colour limitation can increase the baking time by 30-50%. The
attraction of rf heating is that the colouring and moisture levelling processes can he separated:
the conventional oven is used to achieve the correct shape, colour and size irrespective of the
moisture content and then the direct heat transfer from the rf is used to complete the internal
baking and moisture levelling. The rf dryer occupies a fraction of the space of the conventional
dryer, 5-10%, yet can increase the throughput by up to 30%.
Rf units are typically of about 50 kW or multiples of this. A common arrangement is sketched in
Figure 1.6. Overall size for a 50 kW unit is approximately 2m wide, 4m long, 2.5m high. An
example of the moisture levelling effect is shown in Figure 1.7.

Figure 1.6 Typical rf Biscuit Oven (Electricity Council)


Pgina 69 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.7 Moisture Profiles in Biscuit Dryer (Electricity Council)

1.5 Drying of blocks and stab - plate electrodes


The most important area for rf drying to date is in the textile industry where the direct volumetric
heating and moisture levelling are used to great effect. Applications in this area were pioneered
by Strayfield International Ltd and due to their success is attracting a number of other
manufacturers interested in both drying and dyeing.
At some stage most textile material undergoes dyeing, washing and drying. The material comes
in a number of forms and shapes, for example, loose chopped fibres, thread wound on plastic or
metal framed bobbins, yarn in the form of "hanks" or rope-like coils.
All these have a small surface to volume ratio and all require to be dried to an even moisture
content. Conventionally, a dryer which is optimised for say tops can be poorly matched for the
other forms. In practice dyeing is often undertaken by contract dye houses which in any week can
be faced with a range of textiles in various forms. Clearly a versatile and efficient dryer is needed.
It has been found that rf systems with their direct volumetric heat transfer, moisture levelling
abilities, and relative insensitivity to shape of the product, provided it does not cause hot spots,
provide the answer for a wide range of natural and man made fibres. In some cases where the
fibre can exhibit thermal runaway problems with loss factor, as is the case with acrylic, the
method is either unsuitable or special precautions must be taken.
Pgina 70 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Outlines of dryers, using plate electrodes and operating at 13.25 MHz, are shown in Figure 1.8.
The combinations offered are based on individual generators giving 60, 80 or 100 kW rf output
and combine the expertise of Sieman's and the textile company h. Krantz GmbH, Germany. The
dryer is combined with a pre-drying and handling system.
Figure 1.8 Radio-frequency Dryer for Textiles; sizes and dimensions (Krantz GmbH)
The separation of the electrodes can he as Much as 600 mm and a minimum clearance between
the top plate and the material of 100 mm is required to tune the system for effective power
transfer.
The Italian textile machinery manufacturer Stalam S.R.L. in co-operation with the American firm
Varian, Eimac Division, California market a range of dryers based on 30 kW rf output
modules,operating at 27.12 MHz as outlined in Figure 1.9. Of particular importance as far as
Stalam are concerned is that the power density is kept to levels where the drying rate per unit
volume is not so intense as to cause changes to the dyed fibres. The electrodes are 3.5 m in
length and the lower plate is made up from 70 parallel bars covered in freely rotating plastic
sleeving in order to prevent any possible snagging of the items passing through the dryer.

Pgina 71 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.9 Radio-frequency Textile Dryers; Modular Concept (Stalam, s.r.l)


Strayfield International, UK, manufacture a range of dryers operating at 27.12 MHz and based on
multiples of 25, 40, and 75 kW rf output. The design of their dryers has been guided by the need
Pgina 72 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


for flexible operation at moderate power densities for the same reasons as above. Figure 1.10
shows details of a 40 kW unit and outlines for the full range are shown in Figure 1.11 Over 300 of
these units have been sold into the textile industry.

Figure 1.10 Radio-frequency Textile Dryer (Strayfield International)

Pgina 73 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.11 Outline of rf Textile Dryers Based on 25, 40, 75 kW Generators (Strayfield
International)

1.6 Drying of Particulates


Pgina 74 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The use of rf heating for drying granular material does not appear to have been utilised
extensively in industry. One reason for this is simply expediency on the part of the equipment
manufacturers: other markets have been easier to identify and require simpler systems, for
example in terms of product handling, than particulate matter. The other reason is more
fundamental and is related to the properties of particulate matter: with particulates the ratio of
external surface area to volume can he large and consequently if individual particles can he held
in an air stream the convective heat transfer can he 1arge so that the advantages of volumetric
heat transfer might not be so great in comparison. Initial- moisture contents are often less than
20% (dry basis) so that the values of loss factor are likely to be towards the middle/lower end of
the range, see Part 2 Section 1. These circumstances favour microwave rather than rf heating
where greater power densities at lower electric fields are possible. The problems associated with
explosion or fire risks with fine particulates must rule out the use of dielectric heating for some
products. Much of the particulate matter which is dried is temperature sensitive with an upper
critical temperature limit well below 100C. Drying of such materials in a fixed bed at atmospheric
pressure could result in overheating and so combinational techniques, as yet not exploited, or
vacuum drying would be required. In the latter case much development work has been carried out
at microwave frequencies where the operating conditions, from the point of view of power
densities and the possibility of arcing, have been judged more favourable than at rf frequencies,
see Section 4. If the critical-temperature is well above 100C, however, then drying in an
essentially fixed bed, with perhaps gentle stirring or a small through-flow of air to prevent caking
of the bed, could he attractive as it would cause less attrition of the product than fluidising
techniques.
The above comments are general and indicate yet again that the choice of dielectric heating
techniques is
very product dependent. The two industrial operations reported in the literature are both
concerned with drying salt using a parallel plate electrode system and a fixed bed of about 40 mm
deep held on a conveyor belt. Undoubtedly given the vast range of particulate products there
must he more scope for rf techniques. As remarked in Part 1 Section 2, the informed potential
user is in the best position to make such an assessment.
A promising area is combinational drying with rf and convective heating of relatively large granular
or pellet type materials which exhibit significant internal resistance to mass flow due to their
structure or due to case hardening arising from present methods of drying. The rf heating would
be used principally to drive the moisture to the surface and thereby allow the convective drying to
operate more efficiently for a greater proportion of the drying cycle and allow higher air
temperatures to he used without the risk of case hardening. Presently available combinational
dryers are discussed in Section 6 and the heat and mass transfer aspects are discussed in Part 2
Section 1.

1.7 Power Requirements, Efficiencies and Costs


1.7.1 Energy for drying
The rf energy required can he calculated on the basis of the energy for evaporation and the
energy for sensible heating where the drying temperature in the first instance is taken as 100C.
For blocks and slabs the assumption of 100C is reasonable, in the latter stages of drying the
temperature can rise by 5 to 10C above this. For webs and sheets the temperature may not
reach 100C. Since the evaporative component is usually the more significant the uncertainty in
temperature for these calculations is not too important. To the evaporative and sensible heating
must be added losses due to thermal radiation. As a guide-line one manufacturer estimates this
Pgina 75 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


as between 5-20% of the other two depending upon the surface to volume ratio. The generator to
product energy transfer can he taken as between 75-95% efficient.

1.7.2 Efficiency of energy usage


The overall efficiency with which the energy at mains frequency is utilised for heating of the
material depends on the mains to rf conversion, the generator to applicator power transfer and
the losses in the applicator circuit. Some figures for moisture evaporation per kW hour of rf
energy, and the consumption of mains energy for a given rf output from the generator are shown
in Table 1.2. A figure of 50-65% for the overall efficiency of energy transfer from the mains to the
product is used by one manufacturer; as a first estimate a round figure of 50% can be used. It
must he remembered of course that all these figures assume that the material can absorb rf
energy in the first place.
The running costs can be estimated from the above figures using the appropriate local cost of
electricity.

1.7.3 Capital costs


As a rough guide to the prices of the generator alone, a figure of between ~700-1000 per kW of rf
output from the generator can be used for generator outputs greater than about 10 kW's. Some of
the small units, less than 5 kW output, are nearer ~1000-2000 per kW of rf output. In practice the
overall dryer rather than just the generator is supplied and the total dryer cost will he very
dependent on the particular application due to the handling equipment, control, and the safety
features which are required. The added cost of the oven can be as much as the generator again,
is only a rough guide and for more precise figures the manufacturer should be consulted.

1.8 Operating Characteristics


1.8.1 Dryer controls and monitoring for abnormal behaviour
The controls associated with the dryer exist to monitor the correct operation and set the power at
the required level. The degree of sophistication is determined by the need and cost. The
generator output power is usually calibrated as a function of the dc anode current using a
standard load. Subsequently power control uses this anode current as a reference and is
achieved by fine movement of the tuning mechanism - slug, electrode plate - in response to a
signal from the control panel. Clearly servo-control is possible by using the anode current. The
safety measures for the equipment are designed to prevent any damage to the generator if a
malfunction should occur, for example overloading of the generator due to abnormal input
conditions of the load. These include the usual safety interlocks on the cooling water and air, and
the belt. All motors, fans and control circuits are protected with overloads or fuses and are
interlocked with the generator. The valve has magnetic and thermal overloads to provide
protection for the power supply. A recycling unit is incorporated to automatically turn on the power
after an overload trip has operated. If the overload condition persists however and repeated
tripping occurs the recycling unit switches the generator off and an audible alarm operates to
summon the operator.

1.8.2 Safety measures for operating personnel


Pgina 76 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


All panels and doors to the oven cabinet and generator are interlocked with the power supply so
that the generator cannot be operated when they are open or removed. The systems are
completely enclosed except for the product ports. The level of radiation which is permitted is
presently 100 W/m 2 for whole day exposure but a reduction to 10 W/m2 has been
recommended. Most equipment is designed to giveno more than 100 W/m2 within 50 mm of any
apertures and so for practical distances around the machine for the operator the level should he
much lower since the intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.

1.8.3 Maintenance
The usual maintenance for the handling machinery is required. The rf equipment requires little
attention once it is commissioned - periodic checks on the filters for the cooling system, and the
electrodes and belt must he kept clean. The maintenance schedule of one user who was
contacted was to keep the electrodes clean and during the annual close down inspect the
electrodes and replace any nuts and bolts that were corroded. If arcs do occur then any pitting on
the electrodes and all traces of carbon on the belt and electrodes must he removed

1.8.4 Fire and explosion hazards


The possibility of arcing, however remote, means that the rf field must he treated as a possible
source of ignition. Devices can be installed which sense an arc and shut off the power but there is
still some chance of a limited arc being initiated.
Certainly in present applications arcing is extremely unlikely and is usually a result of abnormal
operating conditions or a malfunction, for example if a metal object had found its way onto the
conveyor belt somewhere up stream of the dryer, arcing could then take place. Standard
considerations regarding fire and explosion hazards will apply with this factor added. Arcing if it
occurs in the drying chamber is usually localised and where it has occurred in existing
applications the effects have been confined to local burning of the material or belt. In comparison
with air dryers the amount of air present in the drying chamber is small and due to the relatively
small size of the cabinet fire extinguishers can he easily installed. Most present industrial systems
do not require such precautions and the only reports of fire have been with material which had a
loss factor with a thermal runaway. Subsequently even this material has been dried successfully
by taking precautions to limit the air in the dryer and prevent hot spots occurring in the material.

1.8.5 Operating experience


Users report that problems, if any, are usually confined to the installation stage and thereafter
operation is mostly trouble free. The presence of a competent electrical engineer is a great help
but not vital. Generally personnel are quite happy to work with the rf dryer. One case where the
staff objected on safety grounds - fear of the rf "radiation" - was due to poor communication on
the part of the management which once remedied solved the problem.

1.8.6 Design
This subject has already been mentioned in Part 1 Section 2. The basic parameters which
determine the required power and type of applicator are the throughput, moisture contents,
dielectric properties, shape and size of the product and any special handling requirements. Bench
top or pilot plant drying tests can relatively quickly determine whether or not the technique is
feasible, especially with regard to possible power absorption and internal mass transfer effects,
without requiring detailed knowledge of the properties of the material.

Pgina 77 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

2. RADIO FREQUENCY COMPONENTS


2.1 Introduction
The key circuit components for rf heating applications are illustrated in Figure 2.1. In this chapter
these elements will he considered in detail, and where applicable and available, formulae will he
given to enable an appreciation of the design of the components to be gained. Many practical
details of rf generators and associated circuits can be found in the book by Dittrich (see
bibliography).

Figure 2.1 Schematic of a Radio-frequency Dryer (not to scale)

2.2 RF Power Generators


The heart of the rf and microwave generators is the electron tube. The user of industrial
equipment is seldom likely to design the generator and so detailed information is not called for
here. However a brief review will give some idea of the conditions for correct operation.
The valves used for rf heating are triodes with three electrodes - grid, heated cathode (filament),
and anode (plate) - mounted on ring shaped terminals arranged coaxially on ceramic spacers
(Figure 2.2). Data for a number of tubes representing most of the available power range are
shown in Table 2.1. As a rough guide the valves range from about 200 mm to 500 mm in length
and about 150-200 mm in diameter. It can he seen that the devices have a relatively low anode
voltage and high current. The increased power is obtained through some increase in voltage but a
greater increase in current. A dc to ac efficiency for the valve alone of at least 75% is aimed for in
the design of the tubes. When losses in the rectifier bank for the dc supply and the losses in the
Pgina 78 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


tank circuit are taken into account, the efficiency of dc to ac for the actual power delivered into the
load is reduced to 50-65%.

Figure 2.2 External Structure of Triode Valve with Water Cooling


The valve must be supplied with a high voltage rectified supply to the anode, a low voltage, high
current filament supply and a cooling system for the electrodes (mainly the anode) and the valve
seals. The voltage supply to the anode is obtained from a rectified single or three phase supply.
Whilst the tube is designed to withstand some fluctuations in anode voltage precautions must be
taken against wide mains supply fluctuations. lt is necessary to ensure that the tube ratings are
not exceeded on the crest of any mains ripple. Generally three phase rectification gives a
sufficiently low ripple. One tube manufacturer recommends using a tube which is over-rated for
the envisaged power required, on the grounds that the increased life-time obtained more than
compensates for the extra initial cost.

Pgina 79 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


For long life of the filament certain precautions must be observed. The tube should not be
exposed to undue shock or vibration before installation or during operation. Current surges should
not exceed the stated maximum (usually 2.5 times the operating current). The nominal voltage
measured at the filament terminals should ideally he within 1% of the published values and
permitted excursions of 5% to 10% should only be of a temporary nature. Solid state rectifier
stacks simplify the design of high voltage high current power supplies. They eliminate the need
for a high voltage insulated heater transformer to run the heaters and the thermal delay circuits
that are needed to prevent high voltage being switched on before the rectifier tubes are warmed
up.
Valve cooling can be achieved with either forced air or integral water cooling. The advantage of
air cooling is that the warm exhaust may be used to prevent condensation in the dryer cabinet.
Some of the requirements for satisfactory cooling water are that it should not be corrosive or
deposit scale; it should not contain insoluble material which might cause blockages, and it should
not be a good electrolyte. A non-corrosive water should be low in chlorides, oxygen, and carbon
dioxide. Scale formation can he avoided by keeping down the amount of silica and bicarbonates,
especially calcium bicarbonate.
The valve is operated under so-called class C conditions with the current and voltage variations
shown in Figure 2.3. High efficiencies can he obtained due to the fact that when the voltage
across the valve is a maximum, the current is a minimum. The value is characterised by curves
showing the relation between the anode and grid voltages for a family of constant anode current
curves, the variation of anode current with grid voltage for constant anode voltage. The operating
points must be obtained by graphical methods since the valve is operating non-linearly as shown
by the shape of the anode current. For optimum operation, the valve wishes to see an impedance
given by (Va - Vmin)/Iac where, Va is the d.c. anode potential, Vmin is the minimum value of the
ACac anode potential, and Iac is the component of current at the frequency of operation. This is
obtained by Fourier analysis of the current pulse. The average power input into the valve is given
by Va. Iac and the average power output by 1/2(Va - Vmin) Iac. The difference between the two
gives the power dissipated at the anode. These relations allow Iac to be estimated for a given
input or output power and hence the optimum resistance of the tank circuit connected in parallel and the Q of the tank circuit can be found. For these purposes Vmin can be taken as 0.1 Va and
Iac = 1.8 - 1.9 Idc. It can he seen that the optimum resistance decreases with increasing output
power due to the slower increase of Va and so the Q value needed will also decrease assuming
the tank inductance is not altered.

Pgina 80 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.3 Current and Voltage Variattions for a Class 'C' Oscillator
The operation of the valve is such that as long as it supports oscillations, the amplitude of the
anode voltage oscillations at the fundamental frequency of operation remains approximately
constant due to changes in the duration of the current pulse. If the dynamic resistance of the tank
plus coupled load circuit is taken from a value greater than the optimum value - "light loading" down to this value the following is observed: the anode currents Idc, Iac increase from a low
"standby value" up to the optimum design value, simultaneously the grid current decreases from a
large standby value; optimum power output is achieved. If now the dynamic resistance were
taken below the optimum value then the tank circuit would attempt to draw too much current while
the grid current could decrease to such a value that the valve stops oscillating and the dissipation
of energy at the anode becomes prohibitive. Clearly this mode of operation must be avoided.
Triodes are guaranteed for 3000 hrs by the valve manufacturer and typical lifetimes claimed by
the equipment manufacturer are 10,000-15,000 hrs.

2.3 The Heating Oven (Applicator) - Types of Capacitor


2.3.1 Introduction
Load or applicator capacitors for rf equipment are usually derived from three basic electrode
configurations made up from plate or rod electrodes and known as through-field, stray-field and
staggered through-field. Other configurations are possible. The choice of a particular arrangement
depends on the shape of the material to be processed, the uniformity of heating which is required
and the constraint that the values of the capacitance and the inductance of the load circuit must
give the required resonant frequency. At rf frequencies the connecting leads of the circuit exhibit
inductance and so there is a minimum inductance associated with the circuit regardless of the
Pgina 81 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


actual design inductance which is added. The consequence of this is that for large electrode
arrays the capacitance is too large for the resonant frequency to be attained even with the
minimum inherent inductance. To overcome this, inductance must he added in parallel and/or the
electrodes "floated". First let us deal with the basic configurations.

2.3.2 Parallel plate electrodes


The most simple arrangement is the parallel plate electrode, see Figure 2.4, with a capacitance
given by,

where A is the area of one side of a plate, d the separation between plates and it is assumed that
a dielectric E fills the gap between the plates. In reality there is always an air gap between the
material and the top plate. The electric field between the plates is strictly speaking obtained by
solving Maxwell's equations for the air gap and the dielectric. For realistic values of the dielectric
constant and electrode spacing, < 5, d < 0.3 m, the capacitor is in fact a two dimensional
transmission line open circuited at the edges of the plates. However, provided the dimensions of
the plates are less than Diel/4, then as a first approximation the field distribution can be taken as
uniform and given by,

In a real situation the dielectric is lossy and either varies with time, for a batch operation, or with
distance through the plates for material moving through the system. For drying operations the
loss factor can usually be neglected when estimating the E field values. Batch operation requires
the retuning of the system as changes - usually decreasing with time. Then the variation of the
plate voltage will depend on the variation of the power input and the Q of the applicator as
equation 1.32 (Part 4) shows. It may be found that in attempting to keep the power constant the
electric fields become too large and breakdown occurs in the air gap. With a continuous heater
the voltage remains constant so that to a first approximation the E-field values in the wet material
at two points through the dryer are given by,

Where:

l, 2 are the values of dielectric constant at positions 1, 2


t
is the plate separation
d
the thickness, assumed constant, of the wet material.

The field distribution is relatively uniform but some field distortion can be expected at edges and
corners of loads. If there are large variations in moisture, and hence effective dielectric constant,
then the field can he concentrated into parts of the load, and in circumstances where the dry
material's loss factor exhibits a runaway effect with temperature, overheating can result.

Pgina 82 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.4 Parallel Plate Electrodes


As the length l of the electrodes increase, they exhibit transmission line characteristics - the E
field varies spatially. For the ideal case of a dielectric completely filling the electrodes, the criteria
for this is when l ~ Diel/4 where the wavelength is evaluated for propagation in the dielectric; that
is Diel = air/ .
Assuming open circuit conditions at the edges, the electric field distribution can be determined.
An example is shown in Figure 2.5 for large electrodes. The presence of the air gap complicates
the propagation in so far as the wavelength must be calculated for an effective dielectric derived
from the air gap and the dielectric. In general however, the simple theory which neglects the
spatial variations is applicable for the size of most through-field applicators encountered, and is in
any case, a suitable starting point for estimates of capacitance and E field.

Pgina 83 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.5 Voltage Distribution of Multi-fed Parallel Plate Applicator (after Lind and Popert,
1965)
This form of electrode is suitable for bulky materials or moderately thick, beds (depth 50 mm)
but not thin sheets because with a large air gap the electric field in the gap would be excessive.
Tuning of such an array is accomplished by rough tuning with appropriate values of the coupling
inductance and capacitor with possibly inductors in parallel with the load capacitor and then fine
tuning either by, adjusting the electrode separation, altering the value of the parallel inductance,
or including a variable capacitor in series with the applicator.
A disadvantage of the plate electrode array is its relatively large capacitance for modest size
arrays. One way of reducing the capacitance is by changing to a balanced electrode system
whereby the top electrode is split and the alternating voltage applied across it with the bottom
electrode left at a "floating" potential or at earth potential. In this case the capacitor is split into two
capacitors in series and the total capacitance is a quarter of the value it would he in the normal
unsplit arrangement for the same dimensions.

2.3.3 Strayfield electrodes


A configuration suited to heating a web or sheet material is the strayfield configuration in which
rod electrodes are held parallel and equally spaced in the same plane, (Figure 2.6). Alternate
electrodes are connected to opposite polarities of the voltage feed lines from the coupling
inductance. As the electrodes are held fixed, fine tuning is carried out with inductors or capacitors
in a similar way to the plate applicator. The value of capacitance for comparable sizes of array is
less than that of plates.
Pgina 84 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.6 Strayfield Electrode System (Physical and Electrical Equivalents)


In effect the electrode array consists of two conductor transmission lines connected in parallel
and with one conductor common to each adjacent array. To a good approximation the field
between two neighbouring rods can he considered independent of the others. The capacitance
and inductance per unit length for a two rod transmission line is given by,

Pgina 85 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Where: s = separation of the two rods, centre to centre,
d = diameter of rods.
The variation of the voltage between the electrodes against length is shown in Figure 2.7a,
assuming the dielectric fills the electrodes for an unloaded line; that is, one with no material
inserted. The variations observed for long electrodes can be minimised by feeding the voltage to
various points along the line as shown in Figure 2.7b, 2.7c. Another method is to place inductors
along the length of an line (Figure 2.7d). The exact positions can be found theoretically for an
unloaded line using transmission theory. A loaded line again presents problems in so far as the
actual wavelength is unknown - its value is between that for free space and that for the dielectric
medium. The two provide limits in determining whether spatial effects are likely to he important for
a given length of transmission line. In practice the wavelength can be measured by observing the
standing wave pattern. Encouragingly, results published by the rf/microwave research group of
the Electricitie de France show good agreement between their theoretical description of a loaded
strayfield applicator and their experimental results (Bialod & Marcband, 1986). For arrays where
the individual transmission lines are short enough to neglect spatial effects, but the length of the
array is excessive, then the high voltage (HT) feed lines themselves exhibit spatial variations due
to their transmission line character, and inductors must be distributed along their length to give an
even HT feed to the array.

Figure 2.7 Variation of Voltage between Electrodes of a Transmission line as a function of


Length of the Line.
With a load in position, the E-field is concentrated into the load close to the electrodes and so
thick materials, more than a few millimetres, would be heated unevenly. Therefore, this
configuration is unsuitable.
2.3.4 Staggered through-field and through-field rod electrodes

Pgina 86 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


By taking the strayfield configuration and raising the electrodes of one polarity into a plane above
the other set, an arrangement known as the staggered through field is obtained, see Figure 2.8.
This configuration is intermediate between the plate and strayfield units, combining some of the
virtues of each type. It can he used for continuous drying of web materials and relatively thick
materials (thickness < 50 mm).

Figure 2.8 Staggered through-field Electrode System (Electricity Council)


The transmission line characteristics as regards the spatial variations along the length still apply.
The voltage variations between top and bottom arrays are not as uniform as the plate electrodes
and field concentrations can occur close to the electrodes. When used for webs the arrangement
gives a better field distribution than the strayfield and has the option of fine tuning relative
movement of the arrays. It has the disadvantage that inductive links between pairs of rods are not
possible.
If the top array of the staggered through-field is moved so that the rod electrodes lie directly
above the lower set then a through-field arrangement is obtained in which the field is
concentrated between pairs of top and bottom rods. Material passing through such an
arrangement sees a pulsed field rather than a continuous one. In other respects the system is
similar to the staggered arrangement.

2.4 Other Applicator Electrode Configurations


Pgina 87 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The electrodes described above represent those commonly found in industrial systems. Instances
can arise where other forms are needed. Within the constraints of correct resonant frequency and
Q factor, and acceptable E-field distribution, the shape of the electrodes can be varied to suit the
process. Some variations are illustrated in Figure 2.9.

Figure 2.9 Possible Electrode Shapes a-Coaxial Cylinders b-Ring Electrodes c-Rods and
Drum d-Spiral e-Shaped for Cylindrical Material f-Shaped for Irregular Material

2.5 Tuning Capacitors


For modest powers <50 kW capacitors can be constructed from a series of parallel plates with
one set moving in between the other to obtain variable capacitance. For high power special
evacuated, variable, water-cooled capacitors are available.

2.6 Construction of Electrodes


Pgina 88 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The choice of materials is limited, in practice, to copper, brass and commercial grades of
aluminium or stainless steel if required. The electrodes must be free of sharp edges, burrs, and
pitting as these can lead to localised high E-fields and a reduction in performance as regards
arcing. The rod electrodes can be made from tubing and their ends should be finished in
hemispherical caps for the reasons just given regarding breakdown. Typical tube diameters are
30-70 mm. The HT electrodes require stand off insulated mountings. These can be ceramic,
reinforced fibreglass, polypropylene, ptfe or any very low loss material of suitable strength and
temperature stability.

2.7 Tuning Inductors


Inductors can he constructed from copper tubing or aluminium strips which should be at least 30
mm wide. These are wound as coils. An order of magnitude value of the inductance is obtained
from the following formula,

Where: n = number of turns;


d = diameter of coil measured to the centre of the wire, in inches.
F is obtained from Figure 2.10. Silver plating is advisable; the plating depth should be at least a
few skin depths for the appropriate frequency. The variation in inductance is obtained by inserting
a metal slug, as sketched in Figure 2.11, into the coil.

Pgina 89 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 2.10 Values of Constant F for use in Equation 2.5 to obtain the Inductance at Singlelayer Solenoids

Figure 2.11 Coil and Tuning Slug for Fine Tuning (Electricty Council)
A variable inductance can he formed from a two rod transmission line - Lecher wire - with an
adjustable short circuit to alter the value of inductance. The characteristic impedance is given by,

Where: d = diameter of rods,


s = separation of rods,
and the input impedance is given by equation 2.7 in Part 4. For l < /4 the impedance is inductive.

2.8 Leads and Earth Straps


It must he remembered that leads which exhibit negligible impedance at mains frequencies may
not do so at rf frequencies. Leads should be as wide as practicable, preferably not less than 50
mm. They should be as short as possible. Copper, brass and aluminium are the normal materials
of construction.
A useful form of coupling lead can he formed utilising an air filled coaxial transmission line. The
capacitance and inductance per unit length are given by,

Where: r1 = radius inner cylinder,


ro = radius of outer cylinder.

2.9 Auxiliary Wiring


All supply and metering leads associated with an rf generator must be kept free from rf energy so
that other circuits are not damaged. Filtering circuits consisting of a low reactance rf path can be
placed across the leads (Dittrich, 1977). Generally auxiliary wiring running along the body of the
dryer must be run inside metal shielding to exclude interference from the rf fields.

2.10 Combined Inductance and Capacitance for the Tank Circuit

Pgina 90 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Except for low powers < 10 kW the tank circuit should as far as possible be formed from a
continuous running surface rather than bolting together discrete components. The evolution from
discrete components to a tank circuit of large C/L ratio is depicted in Figure 2.12. The ideal cavity
is a toroidal cavity of circular cross section. A practical form is that shown in Figure 2.13. The
inductance is given by the expression shown and the capacitance is determined using the parallel
plate formula, and the expression for capacitors in series, see equation 2.1 and Part 4 Section 1.

Figure 2.12 Evolution from Discrete to 'Continuous' Components for a Tank Circuit (after
Dittrich, 1977)

Figure 2.13 Section through Toroidal Cavity Tank Circuit.


The expression for the inductance remains reasonably accurate even if more capacitive sleeves
are added provided the cross sectional area, including air gaps remains small in comparison with
the area enclosed by the inductive path. This arrangement allows the valve to be conveniently
mounted down the centre of the cavity. An alternative circuit, the Koestler, is derived from a
length of coaxial transmission line terminated in a capacitance formed by a plate and the end face
Pgina 91 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


of the circuit box (Figure 2.14). Then the outer conductor is formed from a square cross-section
rather than circular, then in the calculation of the inductance, b and d are based on the mean of
the ratio of the inscribed and circumscribed circle of this square shape.

Figure 2.14 Cross-section of Kolster Circuit (after Dittrich, 1977)


Coupling into the tank can be achieved with a coil, usually of only a few turns, mounted in the
cavity so that the magnetic field due to the currents in the tank passes along the axis of the coil.
Alternatively, a single strap can be inserted into the cavity and fixed to the wall to form in effect a
single turn coil. The arrangement chosen depends on the coupling required.

2.11 Frequency Filters


On some rf units it is now the practice to insert a filtering unit between the tank and the applicator
circuits to filter out possible harmonic frequencies of the operating frequency to prevent
electromagnetic radiation leakage at these frequencies. The filters consist of so called "low" and
"band" pass filters consisting of simple combinations of capacitance and inductance formed from
the components already described.

2.12 Transportation of the Product - Belting Material


Belts for transporting material must be low loss and capable of withstanding the temperatures. A
commonly used type consists of fibre glass coated with ptfe. However, such belts are expensive.
One industrial user who was contacted said that they used a much cheaper belt but did not
specify the material. If the temperatures are not much above 100C then polyester belts are
probably adequate.

2.13 Sensors For Electromagnetic Environments


Pgina 92 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


2.13.1 Temperature measurement
For small scale static tests, spirit-filled thermometers can be used for measuring product
temperature. The disadvantage of such thermometers is that their thermal mass can be relatively
large giving relatively slow response and sometimes inaccurate readings when the material is
approaching the dry state.
Provided this is borne in mind, they represent a very cheap and easy form of temperature
measurement.
Surface temperatures can be measured using conventional optical pyrometers mounted on the
dryer cabinet suitably shielded from rf/microwave fields using an attenuation choke. Some
companies offer fibre optic attachments to aid such remote mounting.
Until the recent development of fibre optic based sensors, the problem of temperature
measurement within the volume of the drying material had not really been solved. Limited
success in some circumstances with thermistors and thermocouples had been achieved but the
limitation of these techniques is that the metallic sensor can itself be heated by the
electromagnetic field and, more importantly in some cases, the metal sheathing used around the
connecting wires to prevent "pick-up" of unwanted high frequency signals by the sensor
electronics can act as another electrode causing short circuiting in rf systems or a change in the
field distribution in microwave dryers. In the latter case this problem may not be severe when the
material is wet and such probes have been used successfully (in fact domestic microwave ovens
use such an approach).
Currently available fibre optic sensors utilise the property of certain dielectric crystals, phosphor
and aluminium gallium arsenide, to absorb light at a given wavelength and re-emit it with a
different wavelength spectrum. The amplitude of the re-emitted light is temperature dependent
and it is possible by measuring the amplitude at two wavelengths to obtain a unique temperature
dependent signal (Wickersheim & Sun, 1985, Ovren, Adolfsson & Hok, 1983). Two commercial
systems exist, one using an ultraviolet lamp to excite the phosphor crystal, the other using an
infra red light emitting diode. The small piece of crystal is mounted on the end of a length of
optical fibre which transmits the incident and re-emitted light from and to the control unit. The
salient features of the sensors are listed in Table 2.2.
Prices for units with single sensors are of the order of several thousand pounds.
A four sensor device is available which again uses ultraviolet to excite a phosphor crystal but
measures the decay time of the fluorescence phosphor which is a function of temperature. Details
are shown in Table 2.2. This device has an advantage over the earlier phosphor device of greater
temperature range and longer operating fibre lengths. Another feature of this device is that it can
be used for non-intrusive surface measurements by coating the object with phosphor paint which
acts as a sensor and using the fibre as a means of carrying the incident and re-emitted light. The
cost of this four sensor unit is around 10,000 pounds. Recently units with up to twenty four
sensors have been introduced by ASEA using the infra red diode method of excitation and an
optical multiplexer.
The field of fibre optic sensors is rapidly developing and within the next 1-2 years there should be
several more types of temperature sensor on the market and prices should drop below present
levels.

2.13.2 Humidity measurement

Pgina 93 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The easiest method for humidity measurement is to draw off a gas sample from the dryer and use
conventional techniques. Some sensors are mounted within metal filters which could provide an
effective electrical shield to allow the sensor to be mounted within the dryer cabinet out of the
main E-field - in the air outlet duct or on the side of the dryer - and fibre optics used to convey the
data from the dryer to the control console.

2.13.3 Electric field measurements


Variations in the E-field can be used as a means of monitoring the drying out of the bed - the
electric field generally increases with time. Sensors based on the ability of a diode to rectify a high
frequency signal to give a dc component proportional to the electric field are used. The sensors
are generally mounted out of the main E field to avoid excessively large signals the dryer to the
control console.
2.13.4 Monitoring of leakage power from dryers
The accurate monitoring of any leakage rf or microwave power from the dryer again uses the
rectified signal picked up from a small antenna but precisely calibrated for the "near field"
conditions and properly constructed to allow for different directions of the incident electric field.
Such devices cost about 1000-4000 and details of manufacturers are given in Part 5. Much
cheaper devices exist for microwave frequencies which register whether or not the
electromagnetic power is above or below the safety limit. Some of these devices must be used
with caution since the calibration does not always takeinto account the different possible
polarizations of the E-field (Titters, Jr & Herman, 1984).
2.14 Principal Symbols for Section Six
A
area of plates
c
capacitance, capacitance per unit length
d
plate separation, diameter rods, diameter coil
E,E1,2 electric field strength, values of E at positions 1, 2.
F
parameter value
IAC
current at fundamental frequency
L
inductance per unit length
n
number of turns
ro, ri outer and inner radius
t
thickness of material
V
voltage
VA
anode voltage
Vmin minimum anode voltage
Zo
characteristic impedance
0
permittivity of free space (air)
, 1,2 dielectric constant, values of E at positions 1, 2
Diel wavelength in dielectric
l
length of electrodes
o
permeability of free space (air)
r
relative permeability

Pgina 94 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

3.
INDUSTRIAL
MICROWAVE
SYSTEM
OPERATING AT ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE
3.1 Introduction
Historically microwaves have been used more for cooking and heating rather than drying at
atmospheric pressure, although as always there are some notable exceptions. Vacuum drying
and to a lesser extent freeze drying have attracted much attention as will be apparent in the next
chapter.
Whereas standard lines are established with rf systems it is only of late that some standard
designs are appearing for microwaves. Microwave equipment manufacturers are well tried and
tested in the "one off" application and consequently there are more variations in technique and
equipment as compared to rf systems.
Almost all manufacturers offer batch and continuous systems. Some have concentrated on the
896/915 MHz frequency range and others the 2450 MHz range but again of late the division has
become less distinct as manufacturers adapt to meet the market opportunities.
Some representative examples of available industrial equipment are given below with the same
provisos as in Section 1. Some of the systems are currently used for heating rather than drying
operations but there is no reason why they cannot be used for the latter without too much
modification.
Equipment for sheets and webs is distinct from that of the other categories - blocks and slabs,
and particulates which use essentially the same batch or tunnel ovens with single or multiple
sources. With continuous dryers the feed ports require more thought than for rf systems since
with the smaller wavelength leakage of radiation is easier. Generally, attenuating tunnels and
"chokes" are employed, the leakage is monitored and safety trips are incorporated. The
magnetrons can be directly mounted into the oven provided the temperature is below the
operating limit of the magnetron. As with rf, all the equipment is enclosed in metal boxes to
prevent contact with lethal voltages and to limit microwave leakage at or below the permitted
value. The tunnel dryer is again simply belt fed so that the residence time is the same for all parts
of the load.
Most of the ovens described can have auxiliary air heating. This can be solely to remove the
vapour or can be used to complement the required evaporative energy. Where the units
described are intended for heating, the microwaves are the principal energy source. In adapting
these ovens for drying purposes this need not remain the case. However unless stated otherwise
it is assumed that the microwaves are the principal energy source.

3.2 Microwave generators


At 2450 MHz, generators utilise 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 5, 6 kW magnetrons. Abridged specifications for a
range of units are shown in Table 3.1. Generators at the lower frequency 896/915 MHz utilise the
basic 30 kW magnetron, and the 40 and 60 kW upgrades. Data from the same manufacturer for
the old 30 kW unit are included in Table 3.1. The 60 kW upgrade is housed in a cabinet with
similar dimensions, with an appropriately rated transformer for the larger power, and has an
improved efficiency of mains to microwave conversion of about 85-90%.
Pgina 95 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


3.3 Drying of Webs and Sheets - Meander and Single Mode
Resonant Devices
In the past a number of pilot plants have been constructed using the serpentine or meander
principle outlined in Part 4 Section 3.3. Of late the drying of sheets and webs has been largely the
domain of rf drying and microwave manufacturers have not produced many units. However
details of a meander type unit originally designed for heating rubber extrusions are given below in
Table 3.2 for the old 30 kW magnetron. For a web application the aperture slit would be much
narrower but otherwise the unit would he essentially the same.
The heating zone is a modification of the basic serpentine with the waveguide made from
corrugated metal to form 20 passes, Figure 3.1. The bends are replaced with coupling bars to
transfer energy from one waveguide pass to the next and the top half of the heating zone is
hinged upwards from one side to give easy access for cleaning. The power supplies and
associated electrics are all housed under the main structure supporting the meander.

Pgina 96 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 97 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 3.1 a) Principle of a Meander Applicator b) Strap Coupled Meander (after Mextaxas
and Meredith, 1983)
One problem with meanders is that they are not suitable if the load is either too lossy or not very
lossy. In the first case the energy is dissipated in a few passes causing uneven heating while in
the latter the number of passes required to obtain efficient absorption of the microwave energy is
excessive. To overcome the low loss situation the single mode resonant cavities mentioned in
Part 4 Chapter 3 can be used to achieve large power densities in a small volume. Whilst no
details are available it is known that several manufacturers can offer such devices along with the
frequency tuning techniques necessary for really low loss, high Q systems.

3.4 Drying of Blocks, Slabs, and Beds of Particulates


The multimode oven in either batch or continuous form is a versatile dryer capable of drying
materials which are reasonably lossy and with large enough dimensions that the oven when
loaded has a low Q factor. Again the cabinet is a metal box designed to keep microwaves in and
the operator away from any lethal voltages. To achieve even heating the various manufacturers
use different techniques. Some examples reflecting these options are given below.

3.4.1 Batch ovens


With batch ovens the higher frequency of 2450 MHz is often used because with the cavity
dimensions involved the larger wavelength of the 896/916 MHz frequency range would give
problems with the energy distribution.
Details of a range of batch ovens offered by one manufacturer are shown in Figure 3.2, a.b.c.
These utilise direct mounting of the magnetrons into the cavity and a mode stirrer and turntable to
achieve uniform heating. Also available but not shown are various techniques to concentrate the
microwave energy in specific parts of the dryer when preferential heating of part of the load is
required. These particular models do not employ circulators to protect the magnetrons. The
design philosophy adopted is that even with light loading of the oven it is still sufficiently matched
to prevent excessive reflected power reaching the magnetron, that is the dryers are designed to
cope with a wide range of loading. In practice there must be a limit to how far one can go with this
idea when drying rather than heating: as the material dries out the electric fields in the dryer will
increase in an attempt to maintain the energy absorption and a stage can he reached when
breakdown of the air would occur. For this reason, no-load sensors and control circuitry to reduce
the power with the decreasing load are available options.
Figure 3.2 Batch Microwave Oven (Courtesy of Microwave Heating Ltd)
The larger unit with two doors fitted can be readily incorporated into a quasi-continuous
production line by synchronising the loading and unloading with the power control of the oven.
Further, a number of units can be connected together. An example is shown in Figure 3.3 for the
heating of moulds and slip in the casting of ceramic products. The direct heating by the
microwaves accelerates the casting rate, reduces labour costs and production space and
increases the life of the moulds.
Figure 3.3 Quasi-continuous Operation using a series of Batch Ovens (Courtesy of Ceramic
Microwave Products)

Pgina 98 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


3.4.2 Continuous ovens
3.4.2.1 Introduction
A common form of continuous oven employs several magnetrons indirectly coupled, and mode
stirrers to achieve the heating uniformity. As the continuous systems are often of larger
dimensions than the batch ovens the lower frequency of 915/896 MHz can be used without undue
problems of field uniformity.
3.4.2.2 Continuous Multimode oven
An example of an oven employing several magnetrons remotely positioned and mode stirrers to
achieve uniform heating is shown in Figure 3.4. This modular system is for preheating, post
heating or cooking of meat, fish and poultry products but presumably could be adapted for drying
purposes by incorporating hot air.

Figure 3.4 Continuous Oven for Heating (Courtesy of Raytheon Company)


The basic system consists of a process oven cavity and a three foot wide conveyor system which
includes lead in/lead out conveyors and controls, and attenuation tunnels to confine the
microwave radiation. The overall length is approximately 45 feet. Product up to 2 inches thick can
be uniformly heated. The power is provided by two 40 kilowatt, 915 MHz magnetrons with
circulators fitted. Additional process ovens, eight feet in length with the same microwave power as
the basic unit can be added to allow an increase in the throughput if required. The unit is
manufactured from stainless steel, including the mode stirrers within the cavity, and the process
oven and conveyor belts are washable and USDA accepted.
Pgina 99 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


3.4.2.3 Continuous oven
An outline of an oven specifically designed for drying is shown in Figure 3.5. This unit has been
used for drying pasta, ink pigment, wild rice, final drying of initially freeze dried particulate
vegetables and space shuttle ceramic tiles. The unit incorporates efficient hot air drying,
sometimes as a predryer before the microwave section for materials with a high initial moisture
content, and in the microwave section itself.
This section is derived from 50 kW microwave output, 915 MHz modules with the power from the
remote magnetron split and then fed to the oven. The precise method for launching the
microwaves cannot be discerned from the available literature. It is believed, however, to be a form
of "leaky" waveguide in which the microwaves are radiated from slots or holes in a waveguide.
The air is passed up through the 6ft wide perforated belt at flows of about 2m/sec (400 fpm.). Air
temperatures up to 100C can be used depending upon the application. lt is possible to mount the
air only predryer above the microwave section so using the same air flow. This was done, for
example, for a pasta dryer where the 30 kW's of microwave energy used represented about 1/10
of the total input energy. For many materials the drying is due to the combined action of the hot
air and microwaves and for large air flows, where the hot air component is significant, effects due
to the internal moisture movement under the action of the microwaves probably occur in a similar
way as for the ARFA dryer to be described in Section 6. in this respect the Microdry unit is both a
microwave and combinational dryer depending on the specific product and air flow used.

Figure 3.5 Continuous Microwave Dryer (Courtesy of Microdry Corporation)


3.4.2.4 Continuous multimode transverse E field oven
A continuous oven employing a unique microwave feed design is sketched in Figure 3.6. The
oven was originally designed for heating agricultural animal feeds, ranging from bales of grass to
beds of peas, to sterilise and/or cook them. It is based on two cavities fed by a single 60 kW
896/915 MHz generator employing the improved magnetron. The power is split and then fed to
microwave horns of patented design which permit a single mode E field to be launched from a
horn of large lateral dimensions. The horns are so arranged to give only an electric field
transverse to the direction of the product belt. Within the oven cavity higher modes exist, all with
the same transverse polarisation. Although the number ofmodes is less than for a conventional
multimode oven uniform heating is obtained due to the, precise method of launching the waves.
The single polarisation assists the attenuation of any microwave leakage in the tunnels to either
side of the cavities to the extent that even with the large aperture required for bales (as shown in
the sketch) the process is open without the need for interlocking doors on the product ports.
When required the product port can be blanked off to take smaller beds (depth 100 mm) of
particulates.

Pgina 100 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.6 Continuous Multimode Transverse E Field Oven (Courtesy of Magnetronics Ltd)
3.4.2.5 Continuous tunnel oven employing a periodic structure
Another standard piece of equipment is illustrated in Figure 3.7. This tunnel dryer has been
employed in the food industry for proofing, coagulation, drying, as well as a number of
miscellaneous processes in other industries. The metal cabinet has a corrugated metal lining in
the top and bottom "decks" extending the length of the cavity, allowing a well defined electric field
to be excited in the direction of travel of the belt analogous to an rf strayfield configuration.

Figure 3.7 Continuous Microwave Dryer/Heater (Courtesy of Calorex A.B.)


The dryers appear to be made up from standard modules of up to 20 kW per module, 2450 MHz
output with the magnetrons mounted in each deck. The maximum belt width is up to about 500
mm and the working height of the tunnel can be changed between 25-100 mm. The power
density can be varied from 5 to 50 kW per sq metres depending on the number of magnetrons
installed and a "density" of 10-20 kW per sq. meter is typical. Specifications for a 10 kW test
tunnel are shown in Table 3.3. For ease of cleaning the upper deck can be lifted to around 200
mm and the side doors covering the tunnel can be easily opened. The correct power level is
achieved by presetting the variable output magnetron units and the belt speed. Any subsequent
variations in belt speed are compensated using microcomputer control.
Pgina 101 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


3.5 Power Requirements, Efficiency and Costs.
As with rf systems, capital costs of the generator can be taken as 700-1000 per kW of
microwave output power and the applicator oven can be as much again. For the 2450 MHz
applications the overall efficiency from mains to product can be taken as 50-60%. With the 30 kw
896/915 MHz magnetrons overall efficiencies around 60-70% are possible whereas with the new
uprated 60 kW versions efficiencies as high as 85% are claimed for a well matched system.
As with the rf systems the required energy is obtained from the sensible heat and evaporative
energy required plus 5-20% convection and radiation losses.
Manufacturers claim that the efficiency of power transfer from the generator is 90% or more for a
matched system, some losses are accounted for in the conversion efficiency. Some figures for
the old 30 kW units are given in Table 3.4. The manufacturer of the Calorex range of tunnel ovens
estimates the microwave power output required for heating on the basis of, required power =
throughput (kg/hr) * temperature rise/1200 kW which based on experience uses a specific heat of
3 kJ/kgC which accounts for heat losses.

3.6 Operating characteristics


The operating features are very similar to those for the rf dryers.

3.6.1 Dryer controls and monitoring for abnormal behaviour


Power control can be achieved by altering the current for the magnetic field or the anode current
of the magnetron. These can be tied into a control system using the signals from temperature or
electric field or humidity sensors. Safety measures for the equipment include interlocks on
cooling, anode temperature sensors and current overload trips, arc detectors in the magnetron
mounting guide if required.

3.6.2 Safety measures for operating personnel


For microwaves the upper limit is 100 W/m2 for leakage radiation. Dryers are generally built to
have no more than this leakage at the openings of the ports so that for practical distances from
the dryer for the operator the levels should be much less due to the fact that the power level
decreases inversely with the square of the distance. One user contacted, required the leakage
level to be checked at the change of every work shift but had found no significant changes in
leakage levels.
All panels and entrances are interlocked with the supply to prevent operation should they be
opened.

3.6.3 Maintenance
This consists of the usual maintenance of the handling equipment, checks on the attenuating
chokes and basically keeping the cavity or wave guide, the door seals and the belt clean.

3.6.4 Fire and explosion hazards

Pgina 102 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The microwave electromagnetic energy must be treated as a possible source of ignition owing to
the remote possibility of arcing in the dryer. Certainly in present applications arcing is extremely
unlikely and is usually a result of abnormal operating conditions or a malfunction, for example, if a
metal object had found its way onto the conveyor belt somewhere up-stream of the dryer arcing
could take place.
Standard considerations regarding fire and explosion hazards will apply with this factor added.
Arcing if it occurs in the drying chamber is usually localised and where it has occurred in existing
applications the effects have been confined to local burning of the material or belt. Arc detection
and suppression devices can be fitted which limit the energy dissipated in the arc. The air flows
associated with the equipment are less than for comparable air dryers and extinguishers can
easily be fitted to the relatively small ovens.

3.6.5 Operating experience


Users report that problems, if any, are usually confined to the installation stage and thereafter
operation is mostly trouble free. The presence of a competent electrical engineer is a great help
but not vital.
Generally personnel are quite happy to work with the microwave dryer. One case where the staff
objected on safety grounds - fear of the "radiation" was due to poor communication on the part of
the management which once remedied solved the problem.

3.6.6 Design
This subject has already been mentioned in Part 1 Section 2. The basic parameters which
determine the required power and type of applicator are the throughput, moisture contents,
dielectric properties, shape and size of the product and any special handling requirements. Bench
top or pilot plant drying tests can relatively quickly determine whether or not the technique is
technically feasible, especially with regard to possible power absorption and internal mass
transfer effects, without requiring detailed knowledge of the properties of the material.

Pgina 103 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

4. MICROWAVE VACUUM DRYERS


4.1 Introduction
One area in which there has been much activity over the past ten years is in the use of
microwaves as the energy source in vacuum dryers. Two areas can be identified: freeze drying at
pressures low enough to give conditions below the triple point of water (T = 0C, vapour pressure
= 611 Pa), and drying at higher pressures, 10 - 50 torr to achieve drying temperatures less than
60C. Our principal concern will be with the second of these areas which will be simply referred to
as microwave vacuum drying with the above range understood.
The use of microwaves in vacuum drying is appealing because in principle it allows direct energy
transfer without too much difficulty: the vacuum conditions can pose a problem for traditional heat
transfer but the transmission of microwaves is unaltered. The dryers used are multimode ovens
adapted to hold the required vacuum while at the same time allowing the microwaves and product
into the chamber. The problems which had to be solved were the uniformity of heating, as with
any multimode oven, and, more importantly, the increased possibility of arcing due to the fact that
the permissible electric field for arc free operation is less at pressures below atmospheric. This
required the use of horns to reduce the power density to acceptable levels. The other area of
development is the general handling requirement for the products which often must be treated
gently to avoid damage. Three industrial systems are presently available or coming to the market,
each aimed at different products and each capable of a wide range of further applications.
Several other systems have been developed but are either confidential or for non-technical
reasons have not yet been utilised industrially. Once more, most microwave manufacturers have
participated in the building of vacuum systems to various stages of development.
The three systems of interest have been developed for concentrating fruit juice slurries to powder
form, the drying of extremely high cost pharmaceuticals, and the drying and deinfesting by nonchemical means of cereal crops.
In each case the product is far superior to that obtained by conventional methods.

4.2 Continuous Vacuum Dryers


The first major development of vacuum dryers up to industrial sizes was carried out by the French
firm I.M.I., Now part of Premo France, for the drying of fruit juice concentrates into powder for
subsequent rehydration (Anon 1979). The general outline and range of devices is shown in Figure
4.1. The dryer is a multimode cylindrical cavity using multiples of 2450 MHz, 6 kW magnetrons.
The microwave windows into the cavity are made from polyethylene high density discs. Taking as
an example the 48 kW unit, the concentrate is introduced through an airlock and deposited
uniformly onto a 1.2 m wide teflon belt to a depth of 3-4 mm. The product expands rapidly due to
the combined action of the vacuum and microwaves. The vacuum is set at between 8-12 torr
(10.64 - 15.96 mbar) and maintained to within 1 torr. Of the eight magnetrons, six have a
constant output while the other two are variable. The surface temperature is monitored using an
infra red pyrometer and the temperature can be maintained to within 1C. Belt speeds can be
varied up to 30m/h. The dried concentrate is in the form of a meringue 80-100 mm thick which is
removed from the belt with a rotary scraper and held in an intermediate two stage vacuum tight
collector. When the product reaches a certain height within the hopper it is isolated by closing the
duct to the upper half and the exit duct is opened and the product discharged. The exit duct is
then closed and the vacuum is restored in the lower part of the hopper which is then reconnected
to the upper chamber.
Pgina 104 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 4.1 'Gigavac' Microwave Vacuum Dryer (courtesy of IMI Premo, France)
In the particular area of fruit juice concentrates the dryer is seen by the manufacturer as a direct
competitor to conventional freeze dryers. Heating rates 20 to 30 times that of freeze dryers are
claimed.
Tests have shown that there is excellent retention of initial vitamins, flavours, aromas and colours.
From the economic point of view capital costs are claimed to be 60% of that for freeze drying and
operating costs are reduced by a factor of 3 to 4. The dryer obviously can be used for granules
and powders. Within the pharmaceutical area the manufacturers state that the enzymatic activity
of dried extracts is at least 20% superior to that of equivalent products dehydrated in conventional
vacuum dryers.
A pilot version of another continuous dryer is shown in Figure 4.2. This unit developed by
Macdonnell Douglas and the Aeroglide Corporation, USA, is intended for vacuum drying of
cereals, insect deinfestation via microwave radiation rather than chemicals, and general food
processing (Gardner & Butler, 1980).

Pgina 105 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 4.2 Pilot 'Mivac' Microwave Vacuum Dryer


The pilot dryer shown uses a multimode cavity and two 6 kW 2450 MHz magnetrons placed
remotely.
The microwave energy is fed into the cavity via hemispheric polypropylene domes or teflon discs.
Product is fed from a top hopper and interlock down the centre of the dryer in a porous woven
polypropylene or polyester cloth chute. The dryer is evacuated to 3.4 to 6.6 kPa to give drying
temperatures ranging from 26 to 52C. Evaporating moisture condenses on the cooled dryer
casing and is collected in a gutter at the bottom of the dryer and drains into an evacuated
collection tank. The collection hopper is again two stage to allow isolation of the dryer when
discharging the product. Results from this pilot unit for drying corn, peanuts, grain sorgnum, rye,
Pgina 106 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


and long grain rice established that faster drying with reduced enerpy consumption could be
obtained while maintaining product quality parameters such as germination and milling yield.
Progressing from this pilot plant, an industrial dryer for processing soybean has been built and is
running. The larger scale and microwave output of 150 kW has resulted in some design changes
but the vertical chute feed technique is still used as Figure 4.3 shows. The magnetrons used are
now 915 MHz, 50 kW microwave output, externally positioned and now feeding antennas which
extend the length of the processing zone. Further dryer sizes are now available as indicated,
Figure 4.3.

Figure 4.3 Industrial 'Mivac' Microwave Vacuum Dryer Installation


So far this dryer has not been used for materials other than those mentioned but clearly there are
other possibilities. A configuration proposed for a belt fed dryer utilising an antenna fed device
is sketched in Figure 4.4.

Figure 4.4 Possible Configuration for a 'Mivac' Vacuum Dryer for Products held on a Belt

4.3 Batch Vacuum Dryer


A range of batch dryers which are just coming onto the market are shown in Figure 4.5. Originally
conceived by ICI pharmaceuticals division with the help of Microwave Heating Ltd they have been
further developed and are marketed by T.K. Fielder, a UK manufacturer of high quality mixing and
granulating equipment, (Fielder, & Fielder, 1983). The dryers are based on a multimode oven
evacuated to pressures of between 65 and 200 mbar absolute to give final drying temperatures of
Pgina 107 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


between 40-60C. Further development is aimed at reducing the pressure and drying temperature
even further. The 2450 MHz, 6 kW magnetrons are mounted above the oven cavity and the
microwaves enter through a polypropylene window which acts as the pressure seal - some
models have windows for each magnetron while others have a single window with the same
diameter as the vessel. A range of models from 1.5 kW, 5 kg load up to 50 kW, 200 kg load are
available. Wet granules are held as a fixed bed in a polypropylene container which for some
applications may have a perforated base to allow a controlled amount of air or inert gas to be bled
through the bed. Excessive caking of the bed is avoided by either using a slowly moving stirrer
which does not degrade the granular structure or by using the gas purge.
Because the amount of air present in the dryer is so low, solvents can be safely dried.
Figure 4.5 Range of Batch Microwave Vacuum Dryers for Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals
In early trials the superiority of vacuum dried granules as compared to those dried traditionally in
a fluidised bed was soon established.
As the bed dries temperature and E field sensors are used to monitor the state of the bed and the
signals obtained are used to control the power output which is progressively reduced. The design
and control of the dryer is so good that very even heating is obtained and circulators are not
required to protect the magnetrons.
The minimal air flow used, the lack of attrition or dust creation owing to the static bed, the fast,
even drying of both water and solvents and the batch operation which avoids cross contamination
make such a dryer very attractive for solvents, toxic or highly active products and expensive fine
chemicals.

4.4 Power Requirements, Efficiencies and Running Costs


4.4.1 Energy for drying
The materials will generally dry at the reduced boiling point of the moisture or solvent.
Calculations of the required energy are again based on the sensible heat and evaporative energy
needed, radiation losses are negligible.

4.4.2 Efficiency of energy usage


The efficiencies of microwave generation and transfer are the same as for the atmospheric
dryers. The overall running costs must include the power for the vacuum pumps, however the
microwave part is the same as before (see section 3.5).

4.4.3 Capital costs


Vacuum dryers whether conventional or microwave are expensive. The rule of thumb previously
used - generator cost plus the same again for the drying oven - probably underestimates the cost
of the complete system. The Gigavac systems are supposedly less than the comparable freeze
dryer. As a rough estimate a figure of 5,000 - 10,000 per kW for the complete system can be
taken. The impression from users of these systems is that while capital cost can never be
completely ignored, it is of secondary importance when compared to the improvement in the
overall drying operation. Clearly this will only apply for certain products.

Pgina 108 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


4.5 Design and
Microwave Dryers

Operating

Experience

with

Batch

Vacuum

(This section is based on notes kindly provided by M.J. Cliff, ICI Pharmaceuticals Division)

4.5.1 Introduction
These are essentially the same as for the atmospheric microwave dryers (see section 3.6), but
with the important difference that the explosion and fire hazards are significantly reduced due to
the operation under vacuum, so much so that solvent drying is envisaged with these dryers.

4.5.2 Design
The dryer is sized on the desired capacity, which may be set by the batch size of the upstream
and downstream equipment, and the required production rate. The dryer will normally be based
around a multimode cavity and so there is a minimum dimension to which the dryer can be
constructed to ensure multimode action. The maximum dryer size is set more by economics and
the need to ensure that the dryer is constructed to the correct pressure vessel standards.
The dryer diameter determines the depth of product, which should be minimised such that it is
near to the microwave penetration depth in the wet product. The penetration depth can he
determined using the equation

Where: '0 = wavelength in air


' = dielectric constant
''eff = loss factor
Product depths much greater than the penetration depth can lead to large variations in moisture
content and temperature through the bed.
The power input determines the drying rate and therefore the production rate. The required power
input sets the number of magnetrons to be used. This needs to be minimised to reduce
complexity but maximised to improve the field uniformity and is ideally between 4 and 10.

4.5.3 Operation
4.5.3.1 Charging and discharging
Before any material can he dried it has to be charged into the dryer. The product can be charged
directly into the dryer or into a separate bowl, which is then loaded into the machine. Direct
charging has the advantage that more of the dryer volume is used for product but drying is less
uniform because the microwave field at the wall will be zero and so the product in this region will
not be exposed to microwaves. Also for product contained by the dryer walls, vapour removal will
be at the upper surface only. For product contained in a separate bowl internal cavity, volume is
wasted. However, microwaves can be made to pass around and even underneath the bowl and
so provide for more uniform microwave absorption. In the same way vapour removal is easier
because if the container is porous all of the exposed surface is used for vapour removal.

Pgina 109 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The former method of loading the dryer is more suited to agitated systems as this overcomes the
limitations noted.
4.5.3.2 Operating vacuum
The operating vacuum. determines the solvent boiling point and so the temperature of the product
during drying. The dryer should not be operated at too high a vacuum or breakdown of the air by
the microwaves and/or ionisation could result. For practical power inputs an acceptable working
vacuum is in the range 30 - 35 torr which gives product temperatures of 30 - 35C during most of
the drying cycle.
The product temperature may rise toward the end of the drying cycle as the water load
decreases.
4.5.3.3 Condensation
Because the walls of the dryer are not heated by the microwaves they remain at ambient
temperature and vapour at 30 - 35C will condense. It is therefore necessary to heat all internal
walls by jacketing or electrical heating to prevent condensation occurring.
4.5.3.4 Field uniformity
Field uniformity can be improved by the use of a mode stirrer but if it is undesirable to use moving
parts inside the dryer cavity, an acceptable field uniformity can be achieved by having a uniform
distribution of magnetrons around the dryer shell. Field uniformity is also improved by having
diverging launch sections. If there is no mode stirrer all of the magnetrons should he powered up
and powered down together thus maintaining the field uniformity. If however the magnetron power
cannot be varied up and down, as is the case with many types of magnetron, the input power is
varied by switching individual magnetrons on and off. To maintain field uniformity under these
circumstances the magnetrons should be switched off in an order that it maintains as far as
possible a uniform distribution of 'on' magnetrons around the dryer shell.
4.5.3.5 Caking
In conventional batch vacuum microwave dryers the product remains stationary. This can give
rise to caking when soluble products are present because inter - particular bridges form and
solidify as the product dries. The caking can be eliminated by agitating product during drying and
breaking the bridges as they occur. The agitation however gives rise to attrition of the product
unless the agitator is designed carefully and the agitator speed controlled.
4.5.3.6 End point control
It is necessary to switch off a batch dryer when the product has attained the desired moisture
content.
Conventionally time can be used but if very accurate moisture control is needed some other
method is required that monitors a measureable property of the product or its environment that is
changing with moisture content. If constant microwave power is input into the dryer the product
temperature varies as indicated in Figure 4.6. If the desired moisture content is attained when the
product temperature is rising then a distinct drying end point can be determined. The problem of
measuring temperature in a microwave environment has been overcome by the introduction of
the ASEA and LUXTRON fibre optic temperature measurement devices. The temperature probes
for these systems are constructed of loss-less glass fibre and plastic and so are completely
unaffected by the microwaves. The shortcomings of using product temperature for end point
control are:
Pgina 110 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1. Measurement is taken at one point and so product temperature must be uniform to achieve
reproducible control.
2. Microwave power is either fully on or fully off as the temperature only rises at the very end of
the drying cycle.
A more suitable method of dryer control is based on electric field (E-field) measurement. The Efield is the free or uncoupled energy in the dryer cavity, i.e. the energy is not being absorbed by
the product. As the product dries and the load decreases, the E-field will rise, if power is kept
constant, as illustrated in Figure 4.7. By monitoring the E-field and keeping it constant by
adjusting the power input downwards a more controlled drying is achieved as the power input is
always matched to the load remaining. The curves illustrated in Figure 4.8 are typical for this type
of control. The drying cycle may be slightly extended but more uniform product moisture contents
are achieved. Some products do not lend themselves to this type of control in that they are lossy
and so absorb microwave energy. Under such circumstances the E-field will be reduced and so
the power will not be turned down sufficiently especially when all the free moisture has been
removed. The product temperature will rise quickly in these cases and the product may overheat
before the power has been reduced to a minimum. For such products a hybrid control system,
using E-field to turn down the power throughout the drying cycle and product temperature to
indicate the end point, has proved satisfactory. For products with a negligible loss factor when
dry, straightforward E-field control is best as the products do not show a significant temperature
rise when dry.

Figure 4.6 End Point Temperature Control of Product Moisture Content

Pgina 111 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 4.7 E Field Control of Product Moisture Content

Figure 4.8 Constant E Field Control of Product Moisture Content


4.5.3.7 Economics
Pgina 112 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The economics are not in favour of microwave drying unless a specific need has to be met. Such
special cases include:
1. Applications where no dust/fines should be generated.
2. Temperature sensitive products.
3. Solvent wet products.
For general purpose drying the capital cost of the microwave dryer precludes its widespread use.
The installation of the microwave unit is usually less expensive than a conventional dryer using
large volumes of air and maintenance and running costs are also generally lower for the
microwave dryer.
Typical costs factors and operating data are given in Table 4.1 comparing the batch vacuum
microwave dryer with a comparable batch fluidised bed dryer.
4.5.3.8 Safety
Safety is an important factor in the design and operation of microwave dryers. The prime
objective is to protect the operator and environment from the effects of microwaves.
The operation of the magnetrons should be interlocked such that they cannot be switched on
unless the cavity is fully closed, i.e. doors etc. shut. Microwave leakage is minimised by the use of
seals. These can be made from any compressible metallic material such as knitmesh and mesh
filled silicon rubber. The seals ensure electrical continuity between a door and dryer shell for
example, and prevent the passage of microwave energy.
In some circumstances it is satisfactory for the operators to monitor the dryer for microwave
leakage using hand held personal detectors. Such circumstances include temporary installations
and development machines. Leakage detectors should also be available to confirm the reliability
of interlocks and seals.
For production machines it is desirable to have fixed leakage detectors that monitor the
microwave dryer continuously for any microwave leakage. These devices should be ideally fixed
between the dryer and where the operator would normally stand. The detectors should be linked
into the dryer emergency stop circuit and should shut the dryer down if a leak is detected.

4.6 Freeze Drying


Although some pilot scale dryers have been reported in the literature the use of microwaves in
freeze drying appears to have been hampered by problems with arcing at the low operating
pressures. To the author's knowledge, apart from a plant reported and patent taken out recently
by Nestle (and this could be only a pilot plant) there are no industrial microwave freeze dryers
currently operating.

4.7 Combined Microwave Heating and Vacuum Drying


A recent development is a combined microwave heating - vacuum drying system developed
initially for the pottery industry in Japan. In this arrangement, the product is heated with
microwaves, then transferred to a chamber where a vacuum is pulled to reduce the boiling point
and to allow the sensible heat of the product to evaporate moisture. These units are based on
modules of 2450 MHz, 1.5 kW magnetrons as used in domestic microwave ovens. Hybrids of the
basic configuration in which a vacuum chamber is placed in the microwave cavity for proper
microwave vacuum drying exist and are used in the food and pharmaceutical industry. About 150
of these units are operating in Japan but they have only just been introduced into the UK and at
present no further technical details are available.
Pgina 113 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 114 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

5. MICROWAVE COMPONENTS
5.1 Introduction
The use of microwaves for communication purposes has resulted in the availability of many
different components many of which can be of relatively complex mechanical design requiring
precision manufacturing techniques. In practical heating equipment on the other hand the aim is
for simplicity of design and manufacture to minimise the costs. The components used are, by and
large, relatively simple.
Details of the more sophisticated parts which could be required in specialised applications, for
example rotating joints, can be found in the books by Southworth and Harvey, see bibliography.
Some examples of the possible combinations are outlined in Figure 5.1.

Figure 5.1 Components for a Microwave System


The number of components required to isolate the generator, transmit the microwave power,
launch the microwaves into the drying oven cavity, and match the system are relatively few. The
transmission along the waveguide requires straight lengths, bends, twists and connecting flanges.
If multiple feeds from a single source are required then somewhere power dividers, or "magic
tees" must be inserted into the line.
Matching of the drying oven cavity to the transmission waveguides requires multiple stub tuners
and/or matching irises or apertures. Launching of the waves into the oven cavity can be achieved
directly from the open end of a waveguide or from an antenna, used to expand the wave front and
direct the energy.
The mounting of the microwave source - a magnetron valve - requires a launch section of
waveguide.
Pgina 115 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


For viewing of the wet material within the oven cavity, sealing of the guides or antenna, windows
and appropriate gasket material are needed. Finally the opening up of the oven cavity to allow
transportation of the material to he treated and the insertion of diagnostics necessitates the use of
attenuators or chokes to prevent microwave leakage. The initial isolation of the generator by a
circulator or isolator is optional, depending upon the degree of matching, but considering the
relatively small additional cost to the system is well worthwhile since it safeguards the magnetron
from damage and simplifies the matching of the system.
Some of the basic microwave "plumbing" components are illustrated in Figure 5.2 with the
appropriate dimensions given. The various components will be briefly described below. Further
details can be found in the books cited in the bibliography.

Pgina 116 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 117 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 5.2 Microwave Components (Courtesy of Magnetronics)

5.2 Power Generation - Tubes for Microwave Heating


As the operating frequency is increased from radio to microwave frequencies, the dimensions of
the tank circuit must decrease in order to obtain the correct resonant frequency. If a triode valve
were still used then the inductance of the leads between the valve and tank and the interelectrode capacitances in the valve would dominate so that operation at the correct frequency
would not be feasible. In the most common form of microwave tube, the magnetron, these
problems are overcome by effectively combining the valve and tank circuit into a single structure
as shown in Figure 5.3a. The magnetron consists of two electrodes, a central, heated cathode
surrounded by a cylindrical anode block with a number of radial vanes. The wall of the anode and
these vanes constitute a number of resonant circuits, as depicted in Figure 5.3b which resonate
at the frequency of operation. A magnetic field is applied parallel to the cathode either by a
permanent magnet or electromagnet or a combination of the two. In operation, a high dc voltage
(10-15 kV) is applied between the anode and cathode so that the electrons spiral towards the
anode under the combined action of the electric and magnetic field. The start of the anode current
flow causes electric field oscillations in the resonant cavities, this field in turn interacts with the
electron flow at the mouth of the cavity. Provided the electric and magnetic fields are of suitable
magnitude so that the path of the electrons forms a spoke shaped cloud - the so called mode some of the kinetic energy of the electrons, derived from their motion in the dc field, is extracted
and converted to electrical power oscillating at the desired microwave frequency. This energy is
extracted from the cavities by first linking together the individual cavities electrically and then
using a coupling loop or antenna from one of them to excite oscillations in a launch section of
waveguide.

Pgina 118 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.3 Principle of Microwave Magnetron


If the magnetron is run in the wrong mode then it is possible that the efficiency with which the
microwave energy is extracted from the magnetron decreases and consequently the energy
dissipation within the magnetron structure increases. This can add to arcing and damage of the
dielectric supports and the cathode heating filaments. Likewise, if too much power is reflected
back from a badly matched load, overheating and internal arcing can occur and the large electric
fields produced can punch boles in the ceramic vacuum seals.
Much of the electrical design of the associated power supplies and impedance matching is
directed at ensuring that the magnetron continues to operate in the correct mode even when
the changes in power supply voltage and load impedance occur. The designer is supplied with a
load diagram - Rieke diagram - which shows the influence of the output load, expressed in terms
Pgina 119 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


of the voltage standing wave ratio which it causes and the position of the first minima of the
VSWR from the output of the magnetron terminal, on the power output and the frequency of
operation. In general there is an upper limit on the VSWR which varies with the different makes of
magnetron. Manufacturers recommend the incorporation of a circulator, to isolate the magnetron
from variations in load, unless it is certain that the permitted VSWR will not be exceeded. The
relatively small increase in initial capital cost is justified by the simplification in the overall design
and matching of the system, and the probable increase in magnetron lifetime. The other diagram
which is given is the working characteristic which relates the output power to the current and
magnetic field or equivalent electromagnetic anode voltage, current.
The detailed design of the necessary circuits for correct operation of the magnetron is beyond the
scope of the present report. For many potential users of microwave equipment it is not required
whilst for those wishing to build systems from scratch the details required are too extensive to
mention here. A "serious" request to the magnetron manufacturer should secure the necessary
detailed information. For example, in the course of this review, a request to Mullard Ltd in the UK,
distributors of Philips valves and magnetrons, eventually resulted in details of circuitry including
printed circuit board layouts and components lists (see, for example, Philips 1986).
Some details of typical magnetrons at the operating frequencies of 2450 and 915/896 MHz are
shown in Table 5.1 and Figures 5.4 and 5.5. The capacity to dissipate heat is limited by the
physical dimensions of the magnetron and consequently at 2450 MHz the largest power output is
limited to 6 kW and significantly larger outputs are not envisaged using magnetrons. Many
industrial applications will consequently require a number of magnetrons to give the required
power output. This is a mixed blessing, on the one hand in a multimode oven better uniformity of
heating is obtained using many microwave sources. A failure of one of the sources does not
mean the system must be shut down, as would be the case for a single supply. On the other
hand, several sources means a duplication of control and operating circuitry. An alternative to
magnetrons at 2450 MHz is a klystron source which is available for powers up to 50 kW.
However, at present they are much more expensive.

Pgina 120 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.4 Outline diagram of 6 Kw, 2450 MHz Magnetron TH 3094 (Courtesy fo Thomson
CSF)

Pgina 121 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 122 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 5.5 Outline Diagram of a 30 kW, 915 MHz Magnetron (Courtesy of RCA Corporation)
At the lower frequency of 915/896 MHz, a recent development by California Tubes has been the
redesign of the traditional 30 kW tube to improve the performance so that the tube can operate up
to 60 kW at efficiencies of 85%. The increase in capital cost of the tube as compared to the old 30
kW tube is small, about 20%; and further the tubes can be reconditioned once they have failed at
a cost of about 1/3 of a new magnetron. Magnetronics, a UK microwave equipment manufacturer
give a figure of around 700 per kW output for a generator, including circulator, using these
tubes. Other manufacturers appear to have uprated the 30 kW tube to 40 - 50 kW and
improvements up to 100 kW could be possible.
Lifetimes of magnetrons are quoted as at least 5000 hrs, with 6000 hrs commonly achieved and
even longer times possible. This refers to the magnetron when running. Operation in an idling
state with the filament running but no HT voltage applied is not recommended. The failure of the
magnetron is usually due to the filament burning out to give open circuit conditions in the filament
circuit.

5.3 Isolating the Power Supply from Reflected Energy - Circulators


and Isolators
For practical purposes these devices are essentially the same thing. They rely on the fact that
ferrimagnetic material when held in a dc magnetic field can interact with microwave energy which
couples to the spinning electrons in the material. In an isolator, ferrite elements are mounted in a
two port rectangular waveguide element to give a low loss device for power flow in one direction
but considerable loss in the other. Water cooling is required to remove the heat dissipated.
Commercial devices capable of handling 6.5 kW and up to 60 kW in the forward and reverse
directions at 2450 and 896/916 MHz respectively are commercially available, see Figure 5.6. A
circulator is a similar device but consists of three ports. This allows power to circulate in one
direction only, e.g. clockwise. Power fed into say, port 1, (see Figure 5.7) flows out through port 2
but not port 3. On the other hand any reflected power returning down arm 2 flows into port 3 but
not port 1. A matched water load is used to absorb this reflected energy. Practical devices are
available with the same power capabilities as the isolators. In fact at 896/916 MHz the isolator is a
circulator with a matched waterload attached to the return port 3. By measuring the flow and
temperature of the coolant water in the loads the power dissipation can be monitored.

Pgina 123 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.6 Isolator for 2450 MHz (Courtesy of Marconi Electronic Devises Ltd)

Pgina 124 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.7 Circulator for 896/915 MHz (Courtesy of Marconi Electronic Devices Ltd)

5.4 Transmitting Microwave


Waveguides and Flanges

Energy

to

the

Oven

Cavity

Some of the standard sizes of straight section of rectangular waveguide are given in Table 5.2.
The appropriate designations for 2450 and 896/915 MHz ranges are WG 9A, RGA 2U, WR 340
(2450 MHz); WG 4, RG 204V, WR 975 (896/915 MHz) respectively. The corresponding flange
designations are shown in Table 5.3. Flanges should he constructed to give a flush fit; shims are
placed between the joints to give a good electrical contact when the flanges are bolted together.
Such methods are usually adequate to prevent leakage of radiation. Designs for flanges
incorporating "/4" filters to give even better screening can be found in the standard texts.
Pgina 125 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Circular guides are not as widely used as rectangular guides because the direction of the E field
cannot be uniquely defined and propagation of more than one mode is possible. Consequently,
standard guides are difficult to define. Table 5.4 is taken from Harvey (1963) and shows the
frequency ranges for given dimensions for the TE 01 and TE 01 modes. The TM 01 mode lies
between these two as Part 4 Figure 3.6 shows.

5.5 Transmitting Microwave Energy - Bends, Twists and Corners


These must be designed so that the change in shape and direction does not give rise to reflected
waves.
Bends can be classified according to whether the change is in the "E" plane or the "H" plane.
Examples are shown in Figure 5.8. In fabrication the most important consideration is to keep the
cross section constant and not make the bend too sharp - the inner radius should not be smaller
than about guide /2.

Figure 5.8 Waveguide Bends


Pgina 126 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The direction of polarisation of the E field vector can be changed using a twist. The length of the
twist should be 2-3 guide wavelengths to avoid reflections. Another method of construction is to
take a number of quarter wave sections of the guide and build the twist up from these, see Figure
5.2. The VSWR of the transition improves with the number of sections. With three sections a
residual VSWR of better than 0.95 can he achieved.
Changing the direction of propagation with a sharp corner is undesirable. It is better to use a
double corner or mitred corner as illustrated in Figures 5.9 and 5.10. The optimum spacing of L
for a double corner bend in the E plane is L = 0.25 x g. For 2450, 9961915 MHz the optimum
size of L for an H plane double corner is slightly larger, exact dimensions can be found in Figure
5.9. An alternative to the abrupt corner is the mitred corner. Significant dimensions are shown in
Figure 5.10. The construction of the mitred corner is more critical than that of the double corner.
In general, care in manufacture of all these components is necessary to achieve the best
performance - finishes should he smooth and dimensions maintained.

Figure 5.9 Dimensions for Reflectionless Transmission through an H-Plane Double Corner
in a Rectangular Wave Guide

Pgina 127 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.10 Mitred Corners


5.6 Transmitting Microwave Energy - Power Splitters, T Junctions
and Magic Tees
One type of power divider is the so-called Y type in which two branch waveguides of standard
size are joined to a standard guide with a metal plate inserted to divide the incident power (Figure
5.11). A T-junction between guides of the same size provides another means of power division. In
order to match the arms the input diaphragms must he added to compensate the mismatches.
Yet another device is the so-called "magic tee" network, a four port device in which power
Pgina 128 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


introduced into one arm, say arm 2 (Figure 5.12), is split equally between arms 1 and 3. There is
no coupling between arms 2 and 4. Tuning posts and diaphragms may be added so that the arms
are correctly matched and a water load is connected across arm 4. Any imbalance in matching
between the two output arms will manifest itself as reflected power dumped into the water load
which can consequently be used as a monitor, and into the input arm which must be isolated from
the generator.

Figure 5.11 Y Junction for Power Generation, n: integer

Pgina 129 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.12 Magic T Network as a Water Load Power Divider

5.7 Transmitting Microwave Energy - Mounting of the Magnetron


The magnetron must be mounted into a section of waveguide which matches the impedance of its
output. This generally requires a section of guide suitably shorted according to the instructions of
the magnetron manufacturer.

5.8 Dissipating Unused Microwave Energy - Water Loads


The water loads used on an arm of a circulator, magic tee or at the end of a section of waveguide
applicator must match the characteristic impedance of the device to ensure good energy
absorption and little reflection. This is achieved by forming the container holding the water into a
wedge shape inside the guide, Figure 5.13a. The change in waveguide characteristics is then
gradual enough to prevent reflections. An alternative construction is to use a tube inserted into
the waveguide at an angle, Figure 5.13b. The pipe and wedge in the above examples must be
made from low loss material. To ensure that little reflection occurs from the load it is important to
prevent bubbles forming in the water.

Pgina 130 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.13 Water Loads for Microwave Waveguides

5.9 Power Transfer - Stub Tuners, Matching Irises and Posts


The principle of the stub tuner is outlined in Part 4 Section 3.6. The microwave stub tuner consists
of two or more screws of fixed position but variable insertion depth. In principle two screws placed
guide/4 apart can tune all mismatches for which the VSWR is less than two. However the tuning
can require large insertions of the screws which can limit the power handling capabilities of the
tuner. A better solution is to increase the number of screws. Three screws with one eighth or one
quarter spacing or four screws with one eighth spacing are used, Figure 5.14.

Pgina 131 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.14 Three Screw Stub Tuner


The most common form of obstacle for matching purposes is a thin metal sheet partially
obstructing a transverse section of the waveguide, and known as an iris or diaphragm, Figures
5.15, 5.16 and 5.17. The obstacle can be represented as a reactance connected in parallel with
the waveguide. The shape of this shown in Figure 5.15a can he thought of as collecting charge
from the top and bottom walls of the guide and is equivalent to a capacitance, while the shape in
Figure 5.15b provides a partial current path from the top to the bottom wall and thus acts as an
inductor. Calculations involve the normalised admittance (reciprocal of impedance l/z) given by

Pgina 132 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.15 Fundamental Types of Waveguide Iris with their Equivalent Circuits a)
Capacitive b) Inductive

Figure 5.16 Various Forms of Capacitive Iris (a) to (c); (d) Inductive Post

Pgina 133 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 5.17 Various forms of Inductive Iris (a) to (c); (d) Inductive Post

where a, b are the sides of waveguide, d the width of the aperture, for the iris shown. The
inductive iris has greater freedom from breakdown problems for high power applications than the
.capacitive iris
A rod, usually referred to as a post, projecting from the broad face of the guide has a capacitive
reactance when its penetration is small but changes to capacitive with large insertions. Adjustable
forms of these posts make up the screw stub tuner described above.

5.10 Launching of Microwave Power into the Heating Oven Horns


and Lossy Waveguide Antennas
Electromagnetic waves can he launched from the open end of a waveguide with reasonable ease
due to the fact that the aperture dimensions are comparable to the wavelength. There will he a
reflected wave due to the impedance mismatch however. By gradually flaring one or both pairs of
parallel sides better impedance matching is achieved and the radiated beam of microwaves is
more directional. By effectively increasing the dimensions of the waveguide, the magnitude of
maximum electric field at the centre of the guide can be reduced enabling the waves to be
launched into vacuum systems in which the breakdown field is less, see Part 2 Section 1.

Pgina 134 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The common types of horn and their designation is shown in Figure 5.18. In the published
literature information on a horn's performance is given in terms of (a) the beam pattern which
shows the variations in radiated wave field intensity as a function of direction in a given plane,
normalised to remove the radial dependence of the amplitude and (b) the "gain" of the horn, a
measure of the increase in power in a given direction compared to what it would be for some
standard device which radiated power equally in all directions. The higher the gain, the higher the
"directivity" of the radiated beam. When used for microwave communications the requirement is
for large gain which usually requires horns many wavelengths long. The published data reflects
this, and by and large are of limited use for designing horns for heating purposes where such high
directivity is not required and, in any case, long horns would be impracticable due to limitations of
space.

Figure 5.18 Common Forms of Microwave Horns


In the application where these horns are mainly used at present, namely vacuum drying the
principle requirement is to reduce the field strength sufficiently to minimise air breakdown in the
dryer. The estimation of the radiated field involves first calculating the field at the mouth of the
horn and then using this information to obtain the radiated field. Usually this latter quantity is only
derivable for distances greater than about five wavelengths - the far field or Fraunhofer region.
For heating purposes some idea of the aperture size required for a given maximum field can he
estimated initially by considering the mouth of the horn to be represented by a waveguide of the
same dimensions and then use the fact that the flow of power, given by Part 4 Equation 3.6 is
constant across the different sections. Horn dimensions of l's - (1-3)AIR using conical or square
Pgina 135 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


pyramidal horns are typical. Certain criteria must be met relating the flare angle and horn length,
relevant data can he found in "Microwave antenna theory and design" by S. Silver (pages 334376, especially pages 364 and 373). Judging from the industrial installations the design is not as
involved as the standard texts would suggest.
Other forms of antenna which give an extended source of radiation can he obtained by cutting
slots, holes or slits in the waveguide walls which then act as sources of radiation or equivalently
"leak"radiation - these are known as slot and leaky pipe antennas. Possible forms are illustrated
in Figure 5.19. These types are not widely used in microwave heating but are mentioned here
because one manufacturer of vacuum dryers appears to have employed them. Fuller details can
be found in books by Southworth and Harvey.

Figure 5.19 Possible form of Leaky-Pipe Radiators (a-c) Radiation from Narrow Side; (d-f)
Radiation from Broad Side

5.11 Waveguide Windows which Permit Microwave Propagation


In vacuum drying there is the requirement for pressure windows which will seal the vacuum
system at the points where the microwaves are introduced but not impede the flow of microwave
power. Such windows must be low loss and have the structural strength required by the vacuum
system. As far as the power flow is concerned the window should not introduce any significant
standing waves by an impedance mismatch. This can be achieved using a guide/2 thick window,
since as Part 4 Equation 2.10 shows, the function of such a length of line is to transfer the output
impedance of the guide/2 line to the input - the line itself is "transparent". Such windows can be
constructed from polypropylene, ptfe, teflon, ceramic, alumina and quartz depending on the
operating conditions. Further details on windows and radomes - structures which enclose
antennas - can be found in the books by Harvey, Silver and Montgomery.
Pgina 136 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


5.12 Apertures, Inlet and Outlet Product Ports - Containment of
Microwave Energy
The necessity of apertures to allow the transport of the material to be heated into the dryer brings
with it the need to prevent radiation leakage. This can be achieved by including attenuation
tunnels, essentially a waveguide, at the inlet and outlet ports. Within these the attenuation is
achieved by (a) filters derived from short circuited /4 waveguide elements which present a large
impedance across the ports and consequently provide a mismatch thus causing reflection back
into the dryer, and (b) damping filters which actually absorb the escaping energy. Usually a
combination of both is required. Some design details can be found in the books of Puschner,
Metaxas and Meredith (see bibliography). This is one area where the individual manufacturers
have their own techniques and guarded "know how".
Of interest is the type of attenuator derived from waveguides operating below the cut off
frequency - typically a cylindrical waveguide - which can be used as an aperture for diagnostics,
for example temperature probes. With such a circular waveguide the mode with the lowest critical
frequency is the TEII. The attenuation of the power is given by

where l is the length of the tube and Po the initial power, and is equal to,

on the assumption that f/fc < 0.7, for the TEll mode,

assuming the guide filled with a dielectric with properties, , r.


So for a given frequency of operation and desired fc (f/fc < 0.7) the required radius and critical
wavelength can be found. Then for some desired output power - a value at least no 1arger than
the safety limit, and assuming a reasonable initial level, say the total power to start with (an
extreme to be sure) or the total power divided by the surface area of the applicator walls where
microwaves impinge, then the required length of the attenuator can be found. In practice, it is
more likely that one would start with a particular tube radius and length and then see if they gave
the required attenuation at the frequency of operation. It will be found that the attenuation is so
large for reasonable lengths and radius that the exact value of the initial power is unimportant.

5.13 Viewing Windows and Perforated Plates for Shielding


As with domestic microwave ovens, windows can be constructed from glass sheet with an
attenuating network of wires sandwiched between the faces, perforated metal sheet, or less
common, glass sheet with a thin coating of metal thin enough to transmit visible light but with
sufficient electrical resistance to attenuate the microwaves. Hole sizes for the perforated sheet
should be of the order of 1mm diameter, although larger holes are possible, with their centres no
less than a couple of millimetres apart.
Pgina 137 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Calculations of the transmission through holes and some illustrations of actual mesh can be found
in Otosbi, 1972. The leakage from windows should always be checked for each application.

5.14 Transportation of the Product - Belting Material


Belts for transporting material must be low loss and capable of withstanding the temperatures. A
commonly used type consists of fibre glass coated with ptfe. However, such belts are expensive.
One industrial user who was contacted said that they used a much cheaper belt but did not
specify the material. If the temperatures are not much above 100C then polyester belts are
probably adequate. These remarks apply equally to rf dryers.

5.15 Drying Ovens - Microwave Applicators


The common ways in which the material to be heated is contained in the microwave field have
been alluded to in Section 3, namely, meander waveguides, single mode cavities and most
commonly multimode ovens. Many variations around these types are possible, details can be
found in issues of the Journal of Microwave Power and the books by Puscbner, Metaxas and
Meredith. Other types are periodic structures, ridge applicators, horn arrays and travelling wave
resonators. Most of these have only been developed to the small scale stage but could have
potential for specialist applications. Information on these can be found in the same sources as
above. Materials of construction are commonly stainless steel, aluminium and copper. As already
noted, there is little concrete design information freely available for the multimode oven, the rules
of thumb are: use a large cavity, dimensions typically of at least five wavelengths; multiple
sources mounted asymetrically and mode stirrers-metal paddles which "stir" up the field
distribution will give better field uniformity.

5.16 Uniform Heating - Mode Stirrers


Mode stirrers are metallic paddles which are rotated continuously in the path of the injected
microwaves to perturb the field distribution and thereby give a more even heating pattern. The
design is largely empirical, depending on the size of the oven and the number and position of the
microwave feed points. Some examples of stirrers are sketched in Figure 5.20.

Figure 5.20 Two Possible Forms of Mode Stirrer

Pgina 138 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


5.17 Uniform Heating Turntables
In batch dryers the effect of the mode stirrer can be augmented or replaced by using a metal
turntable in the bottom of the cavity to slowly rotate the load material. In some industrial units
used for thawing the motion of the turntable can be quite complex with the table mounted
asymetrically about the axis of rotation and with the table capable of being raised and lowered as
it rotates.

5.18 Sensors For Electromagnetic Environments


5.18.1 Temperature measurement
For small scale static tests, spirit-filled thermometers can be used for measuring product
temperature.
The disadvantage of such thermometers is that their thermal mass can be relatively large giving
relatively slow response and sometimes inaccurate readings when the material is approaching
the dry state.
Provided this is borne in mind, they represent a very cheap and easy form of temperature
measurement.
Surface temperatures can be measured using conventional optical pyrometers mounted on the
dryer cabinet suitably shielded from rf/microwave fields using an attenuation choke. Some
companies offer fibre optic attachments to all such remote mounting.
Until the recent development of fibre optic based sensors, the problem of temperature
measurement within the volume of the drying material had not really been solved. Limited
success in some circumstances with thermistors and thermocouples had been achieved but the
limitation of these techniques is that the metallic sensor can itself be heated by the
electromagnetic field and, more importantly in some cases, the metal sheathing used around the
connecting wires to prevent "pick-up" of unwanted high frequency signals by the sensor
electronics can act as another electrode causing short circuiting in rf systems or a change in the
field distribution in microwave dryers. In the latter case this problem may not be severe when the
material is wet and such probes have been used successfully (in fact domestic microwave ovens
use such an approach).
Currently available fibre optic sensors utilise the property of certain dielectric crystals, phosphor
and aluminium gallium arsenide, to absorb light at a given wavelength and re-emit it with a
different wavelength spectrum. The amplitude of the re-emitted light is temperature dependent
and it is possible by measuring the amplitude at two wavelengths to obtain a unique temperature
dependent signal (Wickersheim & Sun, 1985, Ovren, Adolfsson & Hk, 1983). Two commercial
systems exist, one using an ultraviolet lamp to excite the phosphor crystal, the other using an
infra red light emitting diode. The small piece of crystal is mounted on the end of a length of
optical fibre which transmits the incident and re-emitted light from and to the control unit. The
salient features of the sensors are listed in Table 5.5. Prices for units with single sensors are of
the order of several thousand pounds.
A four sensor device is available which again uses ultraviolet to excite a phosphor crystal but
measures the decay time of the fluorescence phosphor which is a function of temperature. Details
are shown in Table 5.5. This device has an advantage over the earlier phosphor device of greater
temperature range and longer operating fibre lengths. Another feature of this device is that it can
be used for non-intrusive surface measurements by coating the object with phosphor paint which
acts as a sensor and using the fibre as a means of carrying the incident and re-emitted light. The
cost of this four sensor unit is around 10,000 pounds. Recently units with up to twenty four
sensors have been introduced by ASEA using the infra red diode method of excitation and an
optical multiplexer. The field of fibre optic sensors is rapidly developing and within the next 1 - 2
Pgina 139 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


years there should be several more types of temperature sensor on the market and prices should
drop below present levels.

5.18.2 Humidity measurement


The easiest method for humidity measurement is to draw off a gas sample from the dryer and use
conventional techniques. Some sensors are mounted within metal filters which could provide an
effective electrical shield to allow the sensor to be mounted within the dryer cabinet out of the
main E-field - in the air outlet duct or on the side of the dryer - and fibre optics used to convey the
the dryer to the control console.

5.18.3 Electric field measurements


Variations in the E-field can be used as a means of monitoring the drying out of the bed - the
electric field generally increases with time. Sensors based on the ability of a diode to rectify a high
frequency signal to give a dc component proportional to the electric field are used. The sensors
are generally mounted out of the main E field to avoid excessively large signals.

5.18.4 Monitoring of leakage power from dryers


The accurate monitoring of any leakage rf or microwave power from the dryer again uses the
rectified signal picked up from a small antenna but precisely calibrated for the "near field"
conditions and properly constructed to allow for different directions of the incident electric field.
Such devices cost about 1000-4000 and details of manufacturers are given in Part 5. Much
cheaper devices exist for microwave frequencies which register whether or not the
electromagnetic power is above or below the safety limit. Some of these devices must be used
with caution since the calibration does not always take into account the different possible
polarizations of the E-field (Titters, Jr & Herman, 1984).

5.19 Principal Symbols Section 5


a, b waveguide dimensions
d
slot width
f, fc frequency, critical frequency
j
-1
l
length of tube
pl
Power at position l from tube entrance
p0
initial power at l = 0, that is, at the tube entrance
0
permeability of free space (air)
r
relative permeability

attenuation constant

dielectric constant
0
permitting of free space (air)
guide wavelength in the waveguide
crit critical wavelength

Pgina 140 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

6 COMBINATIONAL DRYERS
6.1 Introduction
The application of dielectric heating gives rise to different internal moisture flow mechanisms. If
the dielectric heating is the dominant source providing the evaporative energy then these effects
are often not of too much consequence since the moisture is boiled off internally as well as
externally and the mechanism of internal moisture flow is not important as far as the rate of
moisture removal is concerned - exceptions to this can arise when the material is saturated with
moisture and the dielectric heating results in the mechanical removal of moisture but this is not
common. However, if the dielectric heating input is reduced and there is a significant flow of hot
air then for much of the drying cycle the internal temperatures are below the boiling point and the
dielectric heating is used internally for sensible heating, giving rise to a temperature gradient
directed towards the surface of the material. Some of the energy due to the dielectric heating
ends up heating the wet surface giving rise to evaporation but, more importantly, the temperature
gradient can assist the liquid flow to the surface. For certain materials - those where the thermal
conductivity is low and a reasonable number of pores are filled with moisture - this effect can
maintain the surface in a moist state for longer than would normally be possible with hot air drying
alone. Consequently, the convective drying becomes more efficient and just as important,
because the surface is moist, case hardening does not occur, and the moisture distribution within
the material is more even. As a result it is possible to increase the air temperature above that
which could be tolerated with hot air drying alone. This is one possible mechanism applicable to
materials with large or moderate moisture contents. It is certainly not the whole story because
results at low moisture contents indicate a synergism when the two drying techniques are
combined.
In a given drying operation, as has been mentioned in Part 2 Section 2, the role of the dielectric
heating will depend on the amount of energy absorbed relative to that required for sensible
heating. Where the two are comparable then it is to be expected that little electromagnetic energy
is used for evaporation. On the other hand if the proportion of dielectric heating is significant then
it is actively used in evaporation as well as providing the temperature gradients to promote
internal moisture flow.
Although the temperature gradient mechanism was suggested some time ago it appears that only
recently has it been explicitly exploited commercially in the form of a radio frequency assisted air
dryer.

6.2 Convective Dryer Assisted by Radio Frequency Heating (ARFA)


Originally developed by P.L. Jones at the Electricity Council Research Centre (ECRC) this ARFA
(Air,Radio Frequency Assisted) dryer is now licensed to Greenbank - Darwen Engineering (Swift
1986). A schematic of the dryer and the electrode configuration is shown in Figure 6.1.

Pgina 141 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 6.1 Radio Frequency and Convective Combination Dryer (ARFA) a) Principle of
Combining Heat Sources b) Schematic of 3 Zone Dryer
The hot air component is provided by air floatation or impingement nozzles which in their own
right provide an efficient form, of drying web and sheet material. The nozzles are also used as the
electrodes of a 27.12 MHz staggered through-field dryer to give a very compact combination
dryer. Additional hot air only zones are usually added to remove the moisture when the material is
initially very wet. The first industrial installation was used as part of the overall drying process for
leatherboard. It was found that the combined drying produced the advantages mentioned above air temperatures could be doubled to around 200C without product degradation, the drying rate
was increased by 15% with no additional energy cost due to the improved efficiency. To
emphasise the difference between the quality of hot air drying alone and the combined rf/hot air
drying, Figure 6.2 shows a cross section of plasterboard dried by the two methods on an ARFA
Pgina 142 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


pilot rig. It can be seen that the combined drying has dried evenly while the hot air drying alone
has over-dried the surface leaving the centre still wet.

Figure 6.2 Convective and Combinational Drying of Plaster Board, Final Product, Top
Board Dried with rf and Hot Air, Bottom Board Dried with Hot Air Alone; both have same
average moisture content.
Although developed initially for web materials the existing equipment can be adapted to take
other forms of material held on belts if required. The concept has immediate application in other
areas where case hardening and moisture control is a problem.

6.3 Power Requirements, Efficiencies and Costs for the ARFA Dryer
In the first instance the amount of rf energy can be calculated assuming that it will provide
sensible heating only with the product temperature taken as either the wet bulb temperature for
the operating conditions of the process without dielectric heating or the boiling point of the liquid,
usually 100C, to give an upper or lower limit for the sensible heating estimates. However, one
reason for using this technique is that it can enhance the drying compared to the conventional
method and consequently the optimum operating conditions for both the hot air and the rf, and
hence the energy requirements will not be known until drying tests are carried out. For example
the ratio of hot air to rf energy input in the ARFA pilot plant was about 10:1. The exact ratio for a
given product will depend on the particularmaterial and no general rule can be given. The
equipment manufacturers estimate the power requirements after carrying out drying tests on their
pilot plant and draw on their long experience with impingement dryers.

6.3.2 Efficiency of energy usage

Pgina 143 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The rf contribution will perform with the same efficiency as the rf dryers in Section 5. The
impingement nozzles are a very efficient conventional method of drying wet web material due to
the large external heat and mass transfer coefficients which can be achieved: the energy
utilisation will be determined by the input operating conditions since, effectively, adiabatic
saturation can be achieved. For thicker materials the energy utilization will be determined by the
drying characteristics which may largely depend on the internal moisture flow and so, in common
with other forms of convective drying will depend on the particular product. Under these
circumstances the energy usage of the convective or combinational drying must be found from
small or pilot scale drying tests.

6.3.3 Capital costs


The rf generator costs can he taken as 700 - 1000 per kW of rf output power. The total cost of
the complete unit can he three to four times this figure depending upon the hot air requirement
and the physical size of the dryer. These figures are only rough estimates, Given the limited
number of units which have been sold at the time of writing.

6.4 Combinational Microwave and Hot Air Dryer - Microdry System


This dryer has already been considered in Section 3. In operation with, for example, pasta drying
it gave even drying and prevented case hardening in a way analogous to the ARFA dryer. Details
of its performance relative to a hot air dryer only for an industrial application are not available but
as seen in Part 2 Section 4 the drying of wood veneer showed characteristics which suggest the
influence of the different moisture movement caused by the microwaves.

6.5 Operating Characteristics


These are essentially the same as for the atmospheric rf and microwave dryers (see Sections 1
and 3) except that the comment about reduced air flow might not he applicable.

6.6 Other Forms of Combinational Dryer


Other possibilities exist for combining rf/microwaves with hot air, steam, infra red, contact and
heat pump drying. Examples of possible combinational dryers using spouted bed, fluid bed, infra
red and screw dryers with rf or microwaves can be found in the literature (Kolbe & Martin, 1967;
Stoumillo, 1983; Shute, 1986; ICI, 1980; Balfour, 1983 and Buehler, 1980).

Pgina 144 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

PARTE 4

Pgina 145 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

1 RESONANT CIRCUITS
1.1 Introduction
One of the main obstacles when first encountering dielectric heating is the new terminology and
concepts associated with the electrical techniques which are used. The principles are not difficult
and whilst some of the practice is best left to the electrical engineer many aspects are well within
the grasp of the informed mechanical or chemical engineer.
The objective of the following chapters is to present the underlying principles. Some of the
practical aspects have been covered in the chapters on rf and microwave hardware, part 3
chapters 2 and 5. The information has been taken from the available open literature. Some of the
details are treated relatively briefly either due to the fact that the literature, although sometimes
extensive, is not of much practical value or because the required information to be of any use
would occupy too much space and is more appropriate for a design report. Areas where this
occurs and where knowledge is lacking will be apparent in the text.
It is hoped that these chapters will at least acquaint the reader with the terminology and the basic
principles to place them in a position where they can talk meaningfully with the equipment
manufacturer and ask the "right" questions.
In essence a dielectric dryer takes energy from the mains supply, converts and stores it in the
form of electrical oscillations at a high frequency, and transfers some of this stored energy into
the material to be dried where it is dissipated as heat.
Electrical circuits can be described in terms of a few discrete components capacitors, inductors,
and resistors. A capacitor, for example, two parallel plates charged to opposite polarity, stores
energy in the electrical field so created; an inductor, say a copper coil, stores energy in the
magnetic field produced by the current flowing through it. A resistor dissipates electrical energy
due to the collisions of the conducting electrons with the atoms. At high frequencies circuit
components are seldom purely inductive or capacitive, both can exhibit properties of the other.
Circuits must be represented not as discrete components but rather in terms of distributed
capacitance, inductance and resistance, or alternatively, a wave rather than circuit treatment must
be adopted. Microwave circuits, strictly speaking, lie in the latter category although techniques are
used which still use discrete representations to simplify an otherwise difficult problem. Practical
radio frequency circuits are a mixture of discrete and distributed components but their main
features can be described in terms of the former. A review of discrete circuits will, therefore, be
our starting point. This is followed by considerations of the changes at radio and microwave
frequencies and a description in terms of propagating electromagnetic waves. After introducing
some general concepts applicable to both rf and microwave circuits the unique properties of
microwave waveguides are outlined.
It is important to stress again that the material covered in Chapters 1, 2 and 3 cannot be
absorbed in one reading, indeed much of it will only be of interest to those actively engaged in the
use of these techniques. Initially, the reader should not he concerned about skipping the
seemingly obscure mathematical points, particularly in Chapter 3.
In this chapter the basics of alternating current circuits will he introduced with special reference to
resonance circuits. These form the building blocks for the circuits used in radio frequency dryers
and can represent certain microwave resonant cavities, the subject of later chapters.

Pgina 146 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


1.2 Voltage and Current Relationships for Discrete Circuits
1.2.1 Direct current circuits
Our first concern is to establish the relationship between the voltage across resistors, capacitors
and inductors to the current passing through them. Once this has been found then the energy
stored or dissipated can be determined. As a starting point consider the well known relationship
for direct current circuits, Ohms law, which relates the current (I) flowing through a resistor (R) to
the voltage (V) across it:-

From this expression follows the power dissipated in the resistor:-

The net resistance RTOT of a number of resistors connected in series is given by,

while that for resistors connected in parallel is found from,

To analyse a circuit, two further relationships known as Kirchoff's laws are useful. These state
that the current flowing into a junction must equal the current flowing out, and secondly, in a
closed circuit the sum of the voltages must be zero.

1.2.2 Alternating current circuits


When considering alternating currents in circuits it is necessary to find similar relationships to the
above relating the voltage to current for capacitors and inductors.
Alternating currents, can be represented as i = i0 cos wt, where w = 2f, is the angular frequency
of operation.

Figure 1.1 Series Combination of a Capacitor, Resistor and Inductor, an 'LCR' Circuit
Consider for example the series combination of a resistance R, an inductance L and a capacitor
C, shown in Figure 1.1. The voltage across each of the three circuit elements is,
Pgina 147 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


across R:

It can he seen that the voltage across the resistance is in phase with the current, the voltage
across the inductance leads the current in phase by 90 (/2) while that across the capacitor lags
by 90 (-/2). The resultant voltage across the elements is found by summing the individual
voltages to give in this case

Where:
The magnitude of the ratio of the voltage to current across the elements is known as the
impedance Z. The quantities wt, 1/wC associated with the inductance and capacitance are known
as the reactances for these components.

1.2.3 Use of complex numbers in circuit theory


In general it is convenient to use the properties of complex numbers to evaluate the impedance
and phase angle between current and voltage. Using the relation

Where: j = -1
cosine or sine functions can he replaced by the real or imaginary part of e . The capacitance and
inductance are now represented by imaginary impedance operators given bv,

These operators are the equivalent of resistance as far as determining the relation between V and
i. There is nothing mystical about the use of these imaginary impedance operators - essentially
they are another way of expressing the phase and magnitude information for the capacitor and
inductance corresponding to the expressions 1.1 - 1.7 above. In the literature when complex
notation is implicit these operators may be referred to simply as the impedance. The operators
may be combined with one another when the circuit elements are in series or parallel by the same
rules applicable to resistors:
Pgina 148 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

For a given circuit arrangement a resultant complex impedance is found and can be represented
by,
Where: R = real part of resultant complex impedance
j X = imaginary part of resultant impedance
R is an effective resistive component and X is the effective reactance. The impedance is given by
the modulus of Z. So for a voltage given by V0 ejwt the current through the circuit is given by,

expressing Z in the form |Z|ej gives,

Now, if the voltage were given by the real part of ejwt then the real part of ej(wt-) must be taken to
give,

correspondingly for the imaginary part of ejwt the imaginary part of ej(wt-) is taken. It is seen that
finally only real quantities remain.

1.2.4 Power dissipation and storage


The instantaneous power dissipated in a resistor R is given by

where the voltage across R is V0 cos wt. The average power, obtained by averaging cos wt over
many cycles is,

Where: VRMS is the root mean square value.


Similarly for a voltage across a capacitor or inductance the peak energy stored in a capacitor is
given by,

Where: IRMS is the corresponding current,


Pgina 149 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


while the peak energy stored by an inductor is given by,

A figure of merit known as the quality factor or Q of a circuit will be much used later. It is defined
as,
.

1.3 Oscillatory Circuits


It has been noted that a capacitor stores energy in the electric field between its plates due to the
charge on the plates while an inductor stores energy in the magnetic field created by the varying
flow of current through it. If a charged condenser is connected across the terminals of an inductor
the capacitor starts to discharge causing a current to flow in the inductor (Figure 1.2). This gives
rise to a magnetic field which generates a voltage to oppose the current flow so that the capacitor
is not instantaneously discharged. A point is reached when the capacitor is completely discharged
with zero electric field across its plates. At this moment, the current is a maximum, the capacitor
is storing no energy - this is now stored in the magnetic field of the inductor and is a maximum at
this stage. The voltage set up across the inductor now acts as a voltage source to recharge the
condenser to the opposite charge polarity. This recharging continues until the point at which the
current is zero. The energy is now stored back in the electric field of the capacitor. The above
sequence now repeats itself giving rise to voltage and current oscillations.

Figure 1.2 The Free Oscillatory Process in a Closed Capacitive-Inductive Circuit


The mechanical analogy to the above is a simple pendulum where potential energy is converted
to kinetic energy and back again. For ideal components, that is no resistance present, the
oscillations once started would continue indefinitely since there is no energy dissipated. The
frequency of oscillation can be found from the fact that the peak energy stored in the capacitor is
equal to the peak energy stored in the inductor so that from equations 1.19, 1.20, since the
currents through the inductor and capacitance are equal,
Pgina 150 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

In reality there is some resistance associated with the circuit, and so the energy is gradually
dissipated and the oscillations cease - this is equivalent to a pendulum with viscous damping of
the bob. If the resistance is too large this type of oscillatory behaviour is not seen. However,
provided the Q value is greater than about 10 - the energy lost in one cycle is a small proportion
of the energy stored at the beginning of the cycle oscillations take place. If energy can be fed to
the capacitor at the appropriate moment to compensate for that dissipated in the resistor the
oscillations can be sustained. This could be achieved, for example, by briefly connecting a direct
current source across the capacitor. Thus, in principle, we have a circuit operating at a given
frequency capable of heating a resistor. Not surprisingly this forms the basis of the radio
frequency and microwave heaters to be described later. In essence the remainder of the
discussion on the electromagnetic principles and methods is concerned with how the direct
current source of energy is switched efficiently in and out of the circuit and how the material to be
heated is presented to the circuit to appear as a resistor of the correct value so that oscillations at
a given frequency and efficient energy transfer from the dc source can occur.
The characteristics of such resonant circuits will now be examined in more detail.

1.4 Resonant Circuits


1.4.1 Series resonance
The circuit shown in Figure 1.3a, consisting of an inductance, capacitor and resistance, is known
as a series resonant circuit. To examine the behaviour of this circuit suppose that a small
amplitude constant voltage generator of variable frequency is connected across the terminals and
the voltages and current measured as the frequency is varied. The impedance operator is
where X = wL-l/wC in this case.

Pgina 151 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.3 (a) Series and (b) Parallel Resonant 'LCR' Circuits - Inductive, Capacitance and
Resistive
The resonant frequency for series resonance is defined as that frequency which makes the
reactance X zero, that is,

At this frequency the impedance is a minimum, so that the current is a maximum and, since X = 0,
is in phase with the applied voltage. The voltage across the capacitor VC is found to be 180 out
of phase with that across the inductor V, aid the magnitude of each is 0 times the applied voltage.
The Q factor is given by,

1.4.2 Parallel resonance


The corresponding parallel circuit driven by the voltage generator is shown The parallel
impedance operator across the terminals is given by

where ZSE = ZL + ZC and ZC and ZL are the series impedance operators for the capactive and
inductive arms respectively, and ZSE is the equivalent operator if all the elements were
connected in series there is no physical significance to this, it just follows directly from the
algebra.

Pgina 152 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


This circuit can be analysed to find when the current flowing into the circuit, the line current, is a
minimum, when Xp = 0, or when wL=l/wC, they are all algebraically different and consequently
there is no unique definition of the parallel resonance condition. For later purposes the condition
Xp = 0 is taken as the criteria for resonance. Provided that the Q of the circuit is > 10 the different
conditions occur at approximately the same frequency with XSE ~ XP = 0 at resonance. The
fundamental relationships for the circuit are listed below,

Where:

w0 = resonance frequency

In passing, it should be noted that the Q factor used is expressed in terms of a series resistance
for both branches. Equally, the Q factor could be expressed in terms of the effective parallel
resistance. The actual expression of course is different, but the numerical value would be the
same, since the Q factor is a property of the circuit independent of the particular equivalent circuit
chosen. Provided Q is greater than about 10 then at resonance the resistive parts of ZL and Zc
can be neglected while keeping zSE exact. When this is done it is found that the parallel
impedance close resonance is given by,

and at resonance the impedance is purely resistive and given by,

this is known as the dynamic impedance of the parallel circuit at resonance and it can be seen
that it is equal to Q times the reactance of one arm of the circuit (both arms are equal at
resonance).
At resonance the line current is a mimimum while the currents in the branches are almost 180
degrees out of phase with one another but of equal magnitude, which is Q times that of the line
current given that RL and RC can be neglected in the expressions for current. Away from
resonance the resistive component becomes insignificant in comparison with the reactive part.
As will be seen such a parallel circuit with a high Q forms the basis of the radio frequency
generators used in drying operations. Since the Q is high there is relatively little energy dissipated
in this "tank" circuit when it is not coupled to any other circuit, rather, it acts as a reservoir of
energy. To extract energy from this "reservoir" a "load" or "applicator" circuit is connected to the
tank and effectively introduces resistance into the circuit which results in a smaller value of the
Pgina 153 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


loaded Q of the tank. Lt should be stressed that the actual energy dissipation occurs in the load
circuit physically separated from the tank: the circuit analysis in terms of an equivalent loaded
tank circuit is simply an analytical device for viewing the energy dissipation from the point of view
of the primary source (the voltage generator). It now remains to see bow the load and tank
circuits are coupled together to obtain the energy transfer.
For later use it is useful to introduce an expression relating the power dissipated into this loaded
tank to the reactance and voltage in the circuit.
Using the definition of Q gives,

where X = w0 L, or 1/w0C and Pg is the power output of the generator.


This expression can be used generally for tuned circuits. For a tank circuit w0 is fixed, V and Pg
are obtained from the valve parameters, leaving L or C to he determined. The loaded Q for the
tank is then determined. In the case of an applicator circuit, Q is related to the dielectric properties
of the wet load and C is governed by the size of the load. Consequently the expression for Q can
be used to estimate the voltage V appearing across the electrodes of the capacitor.

1.4.3 Inductively coupled circuits


The principle underlying the most common method of coupling energy into the load can be
discussed with reference to Figure 1.4. On the left is the tank circuit, a parallel resonant circuit,
while on the right is the load circuit which represents the wet material held between the plates of a
capacitor: the wet material is represented by a resistor RLOAD in series with a capacitor, the
circuit is completed by an inductor. In practice the connecting leads and the inductor have some
resistance RLOSS. The coupling between the two circuits is achieved, by the mutual coupling M
between the two inductances: the current flowing through the tank inductor generates a changing
magnetic field which in turn produces a voltage in the load circuit. The magnitude of this voltage is
related to the physical separation of one coil relative to the other - the mutual inductance M of the
coils. For large separations M is small and the interaction of the two circuits is small.

Figure 1.4 Two Resonant Circuits Coupled Together Inductively


The voltage created in the load circuit produces a varying current through the circuit and so there
is dissipation of energy in the load resistor. This current in turn creates a voltage back in the tank
circuit and consequently affects its oscillatory characteristics as compared to those in the
uncoupled state. The questions which now arise are: what is the resonance condition and what
determines the extent of the energy transfer to the load circuit?.
The voltage generated by the mutual inductance in each circuit is given by,

while the mutual inductance can be expressed in terms of the two inductances:
Pgina 154 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

where the coupling constant k is a function of the physical separation and can take the values k
l.
Using Kirchoffs laws and the appropriate impedance operators the currents in each circuit can be
calculated. Following from this it can be shown that the effect of the load circuit on the tank circuit
for steady state sinusoidal oscillations is equivalent to adding an impedance operator in the
inductive arm given by,

where Xa = wLa(1 - (wa/w)2 ) and Ra = RLOSS + RLOAD.


The circuit can now be treated as a parallel resonant circuit by the methods of section 1.4.2.

1.4.4 Criteria for power transfer and frequency of operation


The conditions necessary for the efficient transfer of all the available power from the energy
source, here depicted as a constant voltage generator, at a specified frequency can be related to
the resonant frequencies of the tank and load circuits when uncoupled, the Q factors of the
individual circuits, the coupling constant for the mutual inductance and the dynamic impedance of
the tank circuit, with the load coupled, at the resonant frequency of the combination.
For operation at a frequency w0 say, a necessary but not sufficient condition is that the
reactances XA and XT are zero with the resonant frequencies of the uncoupled circuits equal to
w0. If the coupling factor k < kcrit = 1/Qa then the resonant frequency of the coupled circuit is w0.
If k > 1/Qa then two resonant points are possible at frequencies w ~ w0 (1 k).
For optimum power output the dynamic impedance of the tank must equal a value Rpopt. At this
point it must be said that the initial power source in actual high power generators does not
correspond to the low voltage generator depicted in the circuit, this is dealt with in the next
section. The value of Rpopt is derived from the valve parameters, for the moment assume this is
known. Given Rpopt and the frequency of operation w0 and a value of the tank inductance, a
value of the effective series resistance RT + RC or equivalently optimum loaded Q of the coupled
tank circuit can be calculated (as already noted the advantage of using Q's is that it is
independent of the particular circuit representation):

The optimum value Rsopt leads to an optimum value for the coupled resistance Rcopt which for
resonance at w0 is given by,

Hence for optimum Rsopt the value of the coupling factor kopt for the mutual inductance must
equal,
Pgina 155 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


(1.37)
where Qcopt = w0 LT/Rcopt.
For RT << RC, Qcopt differs little from Qopt for the loaded tank.
Referring back to the condition for operation at w0 it is seen that optimum power and the correct
frequency of operation requires k = kopt and kcrit > kopt implying Qa Qcopt, Since Qa is
dependent upon the properties of the wet material constituting the load, there is no guarantee that
the above condition can be met which apparently leads to a conflict between the operating
frequency and available power. In practice the applicator circuit is often overcoupled so that k >
kcrit, and Qa is less than Qcopt.
The applicator resonant frequency is then tuned to a slightly different frequency than the tank
circuit and in this way the power output can be controlled.
Assuming that optimum power is drawn from the power source the next is, how much is
dissipated in the load formed by the wet material, much in the circuit losses formed by the leads
and non-ideal elements?
For efficient energy transfer to the load circuit rather the tank losses RT << Rc that is the Q of the
unloaded tank should be as high as possible. Secondly for the power to go predominantly into the
wet load as opposed to the load circuit losses, the resistance of the leads should be small, that is,

or Qa (unloaded) >> Qa (loaded), where Qa (unloaded) is the Q value when there is no wet load
present.
To summarise, for correct operation the resonant frequency and Q factors of the individual tank
and load circuits must have suitable values and the mutual inductive coupling between the two
circuits must be set at an appropriate value. The above analysis gives a good indication of the
values required.

1.4.5 Self-excited oscillators


Depicting the primary source of energy as a low amplitude constant voltage generator has been
useful in determing many of the characteristics of the coupled circuit and indeed corresponds to
the practical diagnostic techniques used on actual tank and load circuits at radio frequences.
However, in the high power generators used, the primary source is a high voltage direct current
source which is synchronously switched in and out of the tank circuit by the operation of a triode
valve. The dc supply is connected across the anode and cathode of the valve, see Figure 1.5,
and an alternating voltage is applied to the grid electrode which controls the current flow from the
cathode to the anode.

Pgina 156 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.5 Basic Circuit of a Parallel-Fed Amplifier


The magnitude of the anode current depends upon the value and polarity of the grid voltage.
When it is below a certain value current flow. By varying the grid voltage at the desired frequency
of operation pulses of current obtained from the dc supply are fed to the tank circuit to regenerate
the circuit as described earlier. The trick which is employed in power generators is to take a
voltage signal from the tank circuit by, for example, using mutual inductive coupling and using this
as the signal for the grid plate. In this way a self-excited oscillator is obtained. There are a
numher of methods, employing different grid circuits, by which the voltage signal can be fed back
to the grid. The initial generation of the oscillatory current when the generater is switched on
requires certain "self biasing" techniques for the grid voltage. The oscillator frequency is found by
equating the reactance of the whole system to zero - the same resonance condtion as used
previously except that now the grid circuit is included. Essentially, however, the conditions
introduced for the tank and load circuits alone will still apply with the oscillator running at one of
the frequencies w0 or w0 (1k). The valve is operated under so-called class conditions with the
current pulses lasting for only a small part of the cycle, see Figure 1.6. lt should he stressed that
under these conditions the valve cannot be represented by a linear equivalent circuit, as is
commom with low powered signal generators, and graphical methods must be used to obtain the
valve operating conditions.

Pgina 157 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.6 Voltage and Current Characteristics of Class C Amplifier


The principle behind the feedback methods is shown in Figure 1.7. The impedances are:- Za
connected between the anode and cathode, Zg that between grid and cathode and Zag that
between the anode and grid, this can simply be the interelectrode capacitance in the valve. The
voltage fed back to the grid is given by Ug / Ua = Zg/(Zag + Zg). The resonance frequency is
obtained approximately from the condition
One actual configuration used is with Za and Zg formed from inductances and with Ug / Ua = Lg /
La < 1, this is known as a Hartley circuit.

Pgina 158 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 1.7 Feed-back Oscillator


In rf generators Za is the tank plus coupled load while for Zg a resonant circuit is often used. The
resonant frequency of each circuit is slightly different from that of the desired resonant frequency
for the system so that Za, Zg are both inductive at this frequency. The circuit can then be treated
as a Hartley arrangement. Usually it is arranged so that the resonant frequency of the system is
primarily dependent on the tank circuit and as already mentioned the simplified theory for the tank
and coupled load is essentially unchanged.

1.4.6 Summary of formulae and some numerical values for Chapter 1


For convenience the formulae useful for discussion of rf generator circuits are summarised below.
In order to gain a feel for the magnitudes of the parameters involved, two examples are given for
an rf generator operating at 27.12 MHz.
Expression for lossy condenser (see chapter 3)
Parallel resistance = Rp = 1/2fC x power factor
Series resistance RS = Power factor / 2fc
Pgina 159 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


where Power factor = sine
Q = l/tan = /" for capacitor filled with lossy dielectric.
Condition for resonant frequency

Volts across C in series resonant circuit


where V is the applied voltage
Current through L and C parallel resonant circuit

where iLINE, is the total current entering the circuit from the generator.
Dynamic resistance for parallel circuit

Definition of Q at resonance in terms of the parallel and series resistance

Power in resonant circuit

where X = w0 L or 1 / w0 C.
Resistance and reactance coupled into tank

Condition for operation at w0

condition for optimum power at a frequency w0

Example A

Pgina 160 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


A generator with an output power of 25 kW at a frequency of 27.12 MHz has a tank circuit
capacitance of 230 pf. The dc anode voltage is 6 kV and V MIN is taken as 0.4 kV so that V = 5.6
kV.
From equation 1.32, Qopt ~ 25
using Q = w0 C Rp, Rp ~ 690
using Q = 1 / w0 C RS, RS ~ I
Example B
An applicator circuit has a Q of 50 and a capacitance of 100 pf. The power absorbed by the
material in the electrodes is 25 kW and the operating frequency is 27.12 MHZ.

Using

gives V ~ 9 kV.

1.5 Principal Symbols for Chapter 1


C
capacitance
CA, CT
capacitance of applicator and tank circuits
E
exponential function
f
frequency
ig
a.c. grid current
im, io
maximum value of i
IM
maximum current
IA
anode current
i, I
electrical current
iL, ic
current in inductive, capacitive arm
IRMS, IRMS CAP, IRMS INDUCTOR root mean square value of I; values for current flow through
capacitor, inductor.
iTANK INDUCTOR, iLOAD
current flowing through tank inductor, load resistance
j
mathematical "operator" = -1
k
coupling factor for mutual inductance
kopt
value of k for optimum power transfer
kcrit
value of k for operation at w0.
L, LA, LT
inductance, inductance of applicator circuit, inductance of tank circuit
M
mutual inductance
Pg
power
Q
quality or Q factor
Qa
Q-factor of applicator circuit
Qopt
optimum Q of loaded tank for power transfer
Qcopt
optimum Q value based on Rcopt
R
resistance
RA
total resistance of applicator circuit
RC, XC
resistance and reactance coupled into the tank circuit from the applicator (load)
circuit
Rcopt
optimum value of RC for power transfer
RL, RCAP resistance of inductive and capacitive arms of resonant circuit
RLOAD
resistance due to wet material in applicator (load) circuit
RLOSS
resistance due to circuit losses in applicator (load) circuit
Pgina 161 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Rpopt
optimum value of RD for power transfer
Rsopt
optimum value of series resistance for power transfer
RS, Rp
series resistance RL + RCAP, parallel resistance
RT
resistance of isolated tank circuit
Qa
Q factor of applicator (load) circuit
t
time
U, Um
voltage, maximum voltage
Ug, Ua
grid, anode voltage
V
voltage
Va
a.c. anode voltage
Vg
a.c. grid voltage
VA
d.c. anode voltage
VG
d.c. grid voltage
Vo
maximum value of V
WA
resonant circuit of applicator
w, wo
angular frequency, resonant frequency
X
reactance
Xa,
reactance of applicrtor (load) circuit
XEA, XEG, XAG reactance from, earth to anode, grid; between anode and grid
XSE
series reactance
Xp
parallel reactance
XT
reactance of isolated tank (applicator not connected)
Z
impedance
ZC, ZL
impedance for capacitive and inductive arms of resonant circuit
ZSE
equivalent series impedance
Zp
equivalent parallel impedance
Greek

dielectric constant
"
loss factor

phase angle

loss angle
a, g phase angles for anode and grid current flows respectively

Pgina 162 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

2 CIRCUITS AT
FRFOUENCIES

RADIO

AND

MICROWAVE

2.1 Introduction
As the frequency of power generation is increased into the rf and microwave regions the
characteristics of the circuits, assumed until now to consist of discrete elements, change due to a
number of effects. The current is not distributed uniformly through the cross section of a
conductor but rather is largely confined to a shell extending from the surface down to a "skin
depth" - a parameter determined by the frequency and properties of the conductor. The electric
and magnetic fields may not be localised and consequently capacitive and inductive effects
cannot he separated. Either a distributed impedance must be used, or the circuit approach
dropped in preference to "field" analysis in terms of electric and magnetic fields rather than
current anti voltage, using Maxwells equations of electromagnetism. As the size of the circuits
approach the wavelength of the electromagnetic fields, energy can he lost from the circuit by
radiation.
At microwave frequencies the "field" approach is often the most useful. however due to the
complexity of many systems it has been necessary to develop mathematical techniques which
combine practical measurements with discrete enuivalent circuits to represent certain microwave
components. Circuits operating at radio frecuencies represent a borderline: some components
can as a first approximation be regarded as discrete while others must be regarded as made up
of distributed impedance.
For a cursory first reading, sections 2.2 and 2.3 are adequate.

2.2 Wave Propagation


With increasing size, the variations in voltage and current or equivalently, electric or magnetic
field exhibit spatial as well as temporal variations, that is, changes propagate as travelling waves
which can he represented in one dimension as the real or imaginary part of,
A0 expj (wt-kz) for propagation in the positive z direction where,

The phase velocity of propagation is given by,


w/k
The relation between the wavelength in air or free space ( = 1, " = 0) and inside a dielectric (,
" = 0) is given by Diel = air/.
Pgina 163 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


In general, k can he a complex number k = kr + jki, the significance of this can be seen by taking
say the real part of the expression for the travelling wave which gives

where kr = 2/.
The exponential term represents a wave either growing or diminishing in amplitude as it travels in
the z direction according to whether ki is +ve or -ve respectively. Of practical interest is the
attenuation of the wave due to the dissipation of the electro magnetic energy within the medium in
which the wave travels.
Other representations of the complex wave number k are possible. A common alternative to k = kr
+jki is = jk = + j so that exp j(wt-kz) becomes exp (iwt - z) to give, taking the real part, A0
exp - z cos (wt-z). Both forms are found in standard texts and will be used in this report.
Conversion from one to the other is easily achieved since, = jk, = -ki and = kr. The unit for ,
or - ki is neper per metre.
In general, as well as the positively travelling wave, it is necessary to allow for a return wave
travelling in the negative z direction which combines with the first wave,

to give a stationary or standing wave pattern which exhibits maxima and minima in the amplitude
of the combination as a function of z. For example the simplest case is A1 = A2 = A0 and k = kr,
which gives a spatial variation,
A unique form of oscillation which can occur is of the form,

that is kr = 0.
This does not represent a travelling wave - it can be shown that energy is not dissipated - but
rather a continuous reflection of a wave, resulting in diminished amplitude and storage of energy,
analogous to a capacitor storing energy, without any dissipation. All the ahove wave types will
soon be encountered.
A time varying current can produce electromagnetic waves which propagate in all three x,y,z
directions. Often it is desirable to limit this propagation to a given direction by guiding the waves
between conductors or by using antennas which concentrate the wave propagation in a limited
direction. In this way, energy from the generating source is delivered to the desired location rather
than propagated in all directions. Waves can be guided between two conductors forming a
transmission line or within a metal pipe of rectangular or circular cross section known as a wave
guide. The latter is used at microwave frenuencies due to its better power handling capabilities
and the former at radio frequenctes. Since many of the principles of transmission lines can be
carried over to wave guides, they will he discussed first.

2.3 Ideal Conductors


In analysing transmission lines it is customary to assume initially that the conductors are perfect,
that is their electrical conductivity is infinite and no energy is dissipated in the conductors
Pgina 164 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


themselves. Using this assumption there is no electric field inside the conductor so that at the
surface the tangential component of the eltectric field is zero (see Chapter 3). This, idealisation
simplifies the analysis and usually the effects of the finite conductivity can be re-introduced as a
perturbation of tne solutions for this ideal case.

2.4 Transmission Line Theory


As an example of a transmission line consider the parallel plates shown in Figure 2.1. At z = 0 a
voltage source is applied while to the right the plates are connected to an unspecified component
across AB. At mains frequency such plates would constitute feed lines of negligible impedance
but at rf frequencies each conductor has distributed inductance and resistance and there is
distributed capacitance and resistance (expressed in terms of conductance) between the two
plates. This arrangement can be solved either in terms of the distributed circult to give
expressions for current and voltage or Maxwell's equations can he solved directly to find
expressions for the electric and magnetic fields, the two approaches are equivalent in this case.

Figure 2.1 Section of a Representative Transmision Line and the Equivalent Circuit for a
Differential Length

2.4.1 Ideal Line- circuit approach


The following relations are obtained for current and voltage on an ideal line, that is, one with no
resistance or conductance but only capacitance and inductance:-

where V+ is the amplitude of the wave in the +ve z direction and V- that in the -ve z direction and,

Pgina 165 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

wavelength = 2/.
phase velocity = w/ = 1/LC
with L, C the inductance and capacitance per unit length.
The expression for C and hence Z0, will contain the dielectric constant of the medium filling the
transmission line.
If the line is infinite then V- = 0: the positively travelling wave never returns, otherwise the values
of V+, V are determined by the nature of the termination (see 2.4.3).
An important concept is that of the characteristic imdedance of the line Z0 which has the
dimensions of resistance. This quantity plays an important role in the wave propagation as will he
seen shortly. lt does not represent a physical resistance, there is no energy dissipation due to Z0 ,
as the equations show (no attenuation). To emphasize this point consider the difference between
connecting an infinite line of characteristic impedance Z0 at AB and connecting a resistance with
a numerical value Z0. In the first place the wave propagates without attenuation in the new line,
whereas with the resistance all the energy incident at the terminals is dissipated in Z0. In both
cases there is no return wave.

2.4.2 Ideal transmission line terminated in an arbitrary impedance


If a transmission line of length 1 is terminated in an arbitrary impedance ZLD) (Figure 2.2) then
the impedance seen at the input to an ideal line is given by,

By varying 1 and/or Z LD variations in the input impedance can be achieved. The following cases
are particularly important.

Figure 2.2 Tranmission Line Terminated in an Impedance ZLD, Characteristic Impedance of


line Zo
1- Short circuited line, ZLD = 0. current maximum, voltage zero at the short circuit:
Pgina 166 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

The input impedance is purely reactive and by a suitable choice of length can be inductive (1< /4
or capacitive (/4 <1< /2). This arrangement can be used as a variable reactance for fine tuning
of electrodes.
2. Open circuited line, ZLD = current zero, voltage maximum at the open end:

Again the impedance is pure reactance, capacitive for 1 < /4 and inductive for
2. Half wavelength sections
When 1 = /2 tan l = 0 and,

Thus the input impedance equals the load impedance. This important characteristic can be
utilised whenever two parts of a circuit must be physically separated without changing the
electrical behaviour at a particular frequency.
4. Quarter wavelength sections
When 1 =/4 then tan 1 tends to infinity to give,

if ZLD were resistive then ZIN is also resistive but of different value: the line can he used to
transform a resistive impedance to another value ZIN by a suitable choice of Z0.

2.4.3 Reflections on a line terminated in an arbitrary impedance


When a transmission line is terminated in an arbitrary impedance such that ZLD Z0 then both
an incident and reflected wave are present on the line. If V+ and V- are their respective
amplitudes for the voltage variations then a standing wave is formed with maximum amplitude
|V+| + |V-| and minimum amplitude |V+| - |V-|.
A parameter known as the voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) is given by

If the incident wave is completely reflected then |V-| = |V+| and VSWR = infinity whereas for no
reflection |V-| = 0 and VSWR = 1.
An associated parameter is the reflection coefficient at the load end of the line defined as, =
amplitude of reflected wave/amplitude incident wave for the voltage V-/V+.
In general is complex and given in terms of the load impedance by,

Pgina 167 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


so for a short circuit (ZLD = 0) = -1 and for an open circuit (ZLD = )
The reflection coefficient and the VSWR are related through,

Thus by measuring tne VSWR the magnitude of can be found. From the position of the first
minima of the VSWR from the load end, the phase of can be found since it can be shown that,

where dmin is the distance of the first minima from the load and = || exp j p.
The wavelength, and hence , can he obtained from the distance between adjacent maxima.
Therefore, finally, the impedance ZLD can he found in terms of Z0. This procedure forms the
basis of a method of measuring impedance and indirectly dielelectric properties.

The average incident power at the load is given by:


The fractional power reflected is, therefore, |V-|2/|V+|2 , that is,

and the remainder, 1 - |p| goes into the load. It can be seen that for good energy transfer the load
and transmission line should be well matched, that is ZLD Z0 or equivalently the VSWR = 1.
Again, measurement of the VSWR provides information on how well the load is matched for
efficient operation of generator and load.

2.4.4 Smith chart


Transmission line calculations - such as the determination of input impedance and reflection
coefficient require the manipulation of complex numbers. Before the advent of desk calculators or
micro computers the tedium of such calculations was removed by a graphical technique known as
a Smith chart. Today it still represents a useful way of presenting impedance data and so it will be
briefly mentioned. Essentially it consists of a series of lines of constant inductive or capacitive
reactance, and circles of constant resistance as shown in Figure 2.3. An impedance, say Z = R +
jX, is normalised bv the characteristic impedance Z0 that is Z (normalised) = R/Z0 + j X/Z0 and
plotted as a unique point. For example if Z = Z0 the point is at the centre of the chart. The
horizontal axis corresponds to X = 0. Such charts also provide information on the reflection
coefficient and the variation in impedance along a line. This is not discussed here, ample details
can be found in the book by Ramo. Of interest is the variation in the impedance operator for
parallel and series resonant circuits close to the resonant frequency, examples are shown in
Figure 2.4 for a parallel circuit for over (k > kcrit) and critical (k = kcrit) coupling. The resonant
frequency and corresponding dynamic impedance are obtained at the point or points where the
curve cuts the horizontal axis. Such data obtained from network analysers (see Perkin 1996)
provide a diagnostic for resonant circuits.

Pgina 168 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.3 Smith Chart; Arrows indicate direction of increase in Reactance and Resistance

Pgina 169 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 2.4 Impedance Plots for Impedance across Valve

2.4.5 Electromagnetic approach to transmission lines


To simplify the discussion a parallel plate transmission line of width b and plate separation a,
infinite in the z direction will be considered (Figure 2.5. The dielectric enclosed is lossless and the
conductors are ideal. The simplest type of wave which can propagate is one with the electric and
magnetic field confined to a plane transverse to the direction of propagation which is taken to be
the z direction. The components of this so-called TEM wave (transverse electric magnetic) are
related by

where and are the dielectric constant and relative permeability respectively of the material
filling the plates (Commonly, r = 1). This particular mode corresponds to that obtained by the
circuit analysis with,

The phase velocity is given by


Pgina 170 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

where c is the velocity of light in vacuo.

Figure 2.5 Parallel Plate Transmission Line, E and H fields Corresponding to a TEM Wave
The wave type in most rf load circuits approximates to this TEM mode. Other variations of
magnetic and electric f ield are possible and it is in discussing these that circuit analysis must be
abandoned in favour of the wave treatment. As an example, the next most relevant wave type for
rf systems is a transverse magnetic wave with components Ez, Ex, and Hy (the classification of
the waves types will be given in section 3.2).
With a z dependence given by exp - z (see section 2.2)
the components are,

With

where k2 = w2 0 0 r , the wavenumber for propagation in a "free" medium not bounded by


electrudes;
Ka = n to obtain the correct boundary condition (Ez = 0) at the upper and lower plates, n = 0,1,2
...
Different modes can exist depending on the value of n; n = 0 corresponding to the TEM wave. For
the nth mode the propagation constant in the z direction is given by

Pgina 171 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

A study of this form reveals a very important characteristic which we will find for wave guides as
well. For a particular value of a, if w is low enough so that k < n/a then is real denoting
apparent attenuation only. This type of wave was met in section 2.2.
When k = kcrit = n/a, this is called the cut off condition for the mode, there is no propagation or
attenuation, that is = 0, the wave can be thought of as bouncing back and forth across the
plates. When k > n/a then is purely imaginary, = j (see Section 2.2), so the mode
propagates without attenuation.
Denoting the cutoff frequency which is the frequency corresponding to kcrit for propagation in the
"free" medium as fc then

The wave length guide measured along the transmission line is no longer given by the value for
the unbounded dielectric free = 2 /k but by:

2.4.6 Losses in transmission lines


Energy is dissipated in real transmission lines because the conductivity of the conductors is finite
and the dielectric between the line is lossy. In heating and drying applications the latter is of more
consequence. Its effect on the wave propagation can be deduced by replacing by * = - j " in
the theory and for "/ << l gives approximately for the TEM mode
)
With

where k2 = w 2 0 0 r r, that is k contains only the real part of *.


A comprehensive treatment of non-ideal transmission lines from circuit and wave points of view
can be found in the book by Ramo.

2.4.7 Radiation from an open ended transmission line


It has been tacitly assumed until now that at the open end of a transmission line there is complete
reflection. Referring to the expression for the reflection coefficient,
Pgina 172 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

the above implies that Z0/ZLD is small where ZLD represents an equivalent load due to the
surroundings at the end of the line. For parallel plates Z0 is proportional to the plate spacing and
so for small separations Z0/ZLD can be taken as zero since generally ZLD is large in comparison
with Z0. However by flaring the plates to increase the separation, Z0 can become significant
compared to ZLD and the reflection at the open end diminishes and the propagation of the
electromagnetic fields beyond the open end (radiation) increases. This forms the principle of horn
antennas at microwave frequencies. For rf applicators radiation loss (not to he confused with
thermal radiation losses) at rf frequencies is generally not significant.

2.5 Principal Symbols Chapter 2


A
amplitude
a
plate separation of parallel plate transmission line
b
width of plates in parallel plate transmission line
C
capacitance per unit length of transmission line
dmin
distance to first minima
E
electric field strength
f
frequency
fc
cut-off frequency
H
magnetic field strength
I
current
J
Fl imaginary part sytnbol
k
wave number
kr, ki
real and imaginary parts of k
L
inductance
n
integer
V, V+, V-, voltage, values of V for travelling waves
w
angular frequency
Zo
characteristic impedance of a transmission line
ZLD
impedance of load
ZIN
impedance at input of transmission line
Greek
,
real and imaginary parts of y

dielectric constant (real part of *), = 1 for air


*
complex dielectric constant
"
loss factor

alternative wavenumber = jk

wavenumbers
l
length of transmission line

reflection coefficient

wave impedance

wavelength
guide
wavelength in waveguide
free
wavelength when dielectric not hounded by conductors
p
phase angle
o, o
permeability, permittivity of free space
r
relative permeability (often = 1)
Pgina 173 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

3 WAVE GUIDE THEORY


3.1 Introduction
With increasing frequency, transmission lines become unsuitable due to excessive radiation
losses and their reduced power handling capabilities compared to hollow waveguides which are
used at microwave frequencies. The waveguide is essentially a hollow metal tube, commonly of
rectangular or circular cross section. The wave is described in terms of electric and magnetic
fields. Occasionally reference is made to the voltage across the guide or the current flowing in the
walls of the guide as they throw light on the power transmitted and lossed. As with transmission
lines the conductors are assumed ideal and at the conductor's surface the electric and magnetic
fields must obey the appropriate boundary conditions.
For a first reading, sections 3.2, 3.3 and 3.7, 3.9 will suffice, but sections 2.2 and 2.4.5 should be
read first.

3.2 Basic characteristics and nomenclature


Waveguide transmission is characterised by two important features:

There is a minimum frequency fc below which a given wave guide will not transmit the
wave the cut off frequency as introduced in section 2.4.5, which is directly related to the
cross-sectional dimensions.

There is always a component of E or H in the direction of propagation. This is in contrast to


the two conductor transmission line.

The guided waves may he propagated with different field patterns or modes. These are mainly of
two types:

TM (transverse magnetic) or E waves - these have a component of E but not H in the


direction of propagation.

TE (transverse electric) or H waves - these have a component of H but not E in the


direction of propagation.

The critical and cut-off wave lengths were introduced in section 2.4.5. It is as well to have a clear
idea of their significance and relationship to the frequency of the propagating wave (f) before
continuing. For our purposes the frequency of operation (f) is fixed, a priori, and is related to the
wavelength which the wave would have if travelling in a dielectric not bounded by the wave guide
free:

where a loss-less dielectric is assumed, that is " = 0.


For a rectangular coordinate system (x,y,z), propagation in the positive z direction inside the
waveguide is of the form
exp jwt - z
Pgina 174 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


and it may be noted that for propagation of a travelling wave in a lossless dielectric is purely
imaginary.
The propagation factor is related to the "free dielectric" wavelength and the critical wavelength
by

where kcrit = 2/crit k = 2/free and crit is determined by the particular mode and dimensions
of the waveguide and is denoted the critical wavelength because when the free wavelength free
is equal to this value the propagation constant y is zero - there are no traveling waves in the
guide. Further, in the guide, the wavelength for a travelling wave, when it exists, is obtained from
= j = j.(2 /guide), since y must have an imaginary value, to give the guide relation,

that is

where all the 's are real numbers which applies generally regardless of the mode. So, f and free
are determined by the operating frequency and dielectric (assumed ideal), crit by the mode and
dimensions of the waveguide, and the propagation constant y and hence the guide wavelength
guide are found from these quantities. Note that for propagation in the guide f must be greater
than fc (see section 2.4.5). If losses in the dielectric are taken into account, then provided "/ <<
1, the only change is to make complex with the imaginary part related to the guide wavelength
as before and the real part, the attenuation constant, given by

where fc, the critical frequency, corresponds to the wavelength crit as determined in the
unbounded

medium with properties, r, that is

3.3 Rectangular waveguides


The two types of wave are TEmn (Hmn) and TMmn (Emn) modes where m, n are integers. The
subscript m refers to the number of half sinusoidal variations along dimension a the widest side
and n refers to the half sinusoidal variations along the side b, Figure 3.1. Expressions for the
cutoff frequencies, and field patterns for a number of the lower modes can be found in the book
by Ramo.

Pgina 175 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 176 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 3.1 Rectangular Wave-guide a) The wave produces wall currents in a thin layer of
the wave guide inner surface b) The displacement currents are surrounded by a magnetic
field c) TE01 Mode
Of particular importance is the TE10(F10) wave (Figure 3.1c) for the following reasons:

The cut off frequency is dependent on only one of the dimensions of the cross section, a,
so that the other dimension can be made small enough to prevent the propagation of other
modes.

The direction of the E field is definitely fixed passing from top to bottom of the guide.

For a given frequency the losses due to the finite value of the conductor's conductivity are
not excessive.

The spatial dependence in the x direction (exp jwt - z assumed) is given by,

where ZTE = /(1 - (free/2a)2) and = (0 r/0)


The cut-off frequency and wavelength in the guide are

and again 2 = - 2 = kcrit2 - k2 leading to equation 3.2.


For a commonly used guide, designated WG9A or WR340 used at 2450 MHz, the relevant
parameters are
Frequency range 2.17 - 3.30 GHz
a = 86.36 mm
b = 43.18 mm
free space (2450 MHz and = 1, air) = 122.4 mm
while for 896/915 MHz the parameters for WG4, WR 975 waveguide are
Frequency range 0.75 - 1.12 GHz
a = 247.5 mm
b = 123.8mm
free space (896/915 MRz) = 334.81 327.9 mm
The average power flowing along a wave guide for the TE10 mode is given by
Pgina 177 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

For arc free operation at atmospheric pressure an upper limit of 1500 kV/m for Emax is used in
calculating the maximum permissible power flow as shown in Part 3 Table 5.2. Alternatively, Part
2 Figure 1.2 shows values of the peak field for various power flows.

Pgina 178 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Pgina 179 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Figure 3.2 Maximum Electric Field Strength in a TE10 Rectangular Waveguide as a
Function of the Power Flow
For a waveguide completely filled with a lossy dielectric, the energy dissipation as the wave
travels along the guide can he related to the propagation constant which is now complex (see
previous section) and for "/ << 1 the attenuation constant is given by,

The power flow can be expressed as,

which shows how the available power attenuates as it is dissipated in passing through the lossy
dielectric. The fractional loss of power per metre is given by
.
Of more interest is the attenuation produced by a stab of material of thickness t and loss factor "
placed symetrically at a/2 in a plane parallel to the shorter side h and extending in the z direction
(Figure 3.3).
Then, the attenuation is given approximately by,

where air is the wavelength in free space or air ( = l, " = 0, r = 1) for the frequency f.

Pgina 180 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.3 Partially Loaded TE10 Waveguide with a Dielectric Slab (Travelling Wave
Applicator)
In order to get material in and out of the waveguide, slots are required in the walls to allow, say, a
belt to pass.
The slot must be cut so that it does not impede the flow of current in the waveguide and thereby
cause excessive radiation loss. For the TE mode this is achieved by cutting the slots down the
middle of the wide side (a). At 2450 MHz the slot width must be limited to about 20 to 40 mm to
avoid leakage problems; the corresponding figures at 896/915 MHz are 100 mm. If a length of
waveguide is bent in the form of a serpentine then a belt can pass through the centre of the
system, as shown in Figure 3.4, and the material can he heated in each pass of the waveguide.

Pgina 181 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.4 Microwave Travelling Wave Applicator in the Form of a 'Serpentine'

3.4 Cylindrical waveguides


The two types are TEmn (Hmn) and TMmn (Emn) modes, where the integer m refers to the
number of full sinusoidal variations of the field along the circumference and n refers to the number
of half sinusoidal variations along the radius (Figure 3.5).

Pgina 182 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.5 a) Field Distribution of a TM01 (E01) Wave and (b) Field Components in the Polar
Coordinate System
The solution of Maxwell's equation to meet the boundary conditions for the tube yields solutions
for the E and H fields in terms of Bessel functions. A full discussion of the various modes can he
found in the books by Ramo, Metaxas and Meredith. For present purposes, the modes of most
interest are TM modes which have a z-component of electric field given by,

Pgina 183 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


where again = kcrit - k. Jm is a Bessel function of the first kind, order m and kcrit is the critical
wave number determined by the mode and the radius of the tube. The boundary conditions
require Jm (kcrit a) = 0 for a cylinder of radius a. This condition gives, for a particular value of the
integer m, an infinite number of roots and the integer n is related to the nth root, say p mn, that is
the value (kcrit)mn a = pmn making Jm (kcrit a) zero.
The TM wave with the lowest cut off frequency is the TM01 (E01) mode with P0l = 2.405 and the
E component given by,

where kcrit = 2.405/a and again 1/crit2 + 1/guide2 = 1/free2 with the 's as defined in section
3.2.
The cut off frequency and wavelength are found from

crit = 2.61 a
The lowest cut off frequency for a given tube radius is found for the TE11 mode which has crit =
3.41a. This means that when using the common TM01 mode for propagation the wave must be
excited in such a way that the TE11 is not excited simultaneously. The cutoff frequencies for the
various modes relative to that for the TE11 mode are shown in figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6 Relative cut off Frequencies and Waves in a Circular Guide

3.5 Wave impedance, reflections and matching


A wave impedance can be ascribed to electromagnetic waves so that the relationships developed
for the transmission line can be used. It is derived from the transverse components of the E and H
fields:

Pgina 184 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


The earlier conditions for power flow and energy dissipation without a reflected wave set up still
apply.
At microwave frequencies it is more appropriate to talk in terms of the reflection of the electric
field and define an analogous reflection coefficient and standing wave ratio s.

where E+ is the incident electric field and E- is the reflected electric field (see Section 2.4.3).
The actual changes in the "load" can he due to changes in the dielectric material in the guide, the
dimensions of the guide, or obstacles placed in the guide, and the connection of the guide to a
cavity - the microwave equivalent of the load applicator. All these can change the wave
impedance. In practice the matching of the impedances so that power flows to the load where it is
to be dissipated rather than elsewhere is determined by measuring the reflection coefficient
through the system.
In principle the characteristics and performance of a wave guide system can be obtained from the
basic quantities, reflection coefficient , standing wave ratio s and propagation coefficient of the
waves .

3.6 Principle of matching techniques


Reflections due to the components between the microwave generator and the final load circuit
results in inefficient power transfer and can lead to damage or unstable operation of the generator
caused by the return wave. This latter effect can he easily dealt with by including a circulator or
isolator after the generator. These are devices which allow forward propagation of the wave but
absorb any return power and so protect the generator. Reflections elsewhere in the circuit can be
minimised by using, correctly sized components and joints. However, there will still be some
mismatch, in particular where the intermediate waveguide joins the load circuit, which usually will
not have a matching impedance. The principle of matching in such cases can again be explained
by considering the analogous case for a two conductor transmission line, (Figure 3.7).

Pgina 185 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.7 Variable Shorted-Stub Tuner Connected in Shunt to Provide Matching at -lm and
therefore S=1 for z less than -lm
Suppose an impedance Z=R+jX terminating a line of characteristic impedance Zo, is to be
matched to that line so there is no return wave. Consider the line broken at the position ab. To the
right of this terminal there is now a line of length lm terminated by the load impedance. The first
step in matching is to find the required length lm which makes the real part of the input
impedance, obtained from section 2.4.2, equal to Z0. The imaginary part of the input impedance
is say +j XIN. It now remains to connect a component in series or, more usually, in parallel with
the section of terminated line to cancel the imaginary part j XIN. This requires a component which
is purely reactive (no resistance), for example, a length of shorted transmission line known as a
stub tuner. If this combination is now reconnected to the main line, then at the terminal, the
transmission line sees only an impedance Z0 and so to the left of the junction there is no return
wave - all the energy is delivered to circuit to the right. On the far side of the junction a standing
wave exists between the load and the junction where the tuning element is connected. The load
and tuning element in effect form a resonant circuit. The residual standing wave does mean that
the electric field in this region is higher than it would otherwise be. At microwave frequencies the
equivalent of the single stub tuner is a metal diaphragm placed across the wave guide. The
impedance of such an element can be made capacitive or inductive depending on the size and
spacing of the diaphragm. In practice the single stub tuner can be inconvenient to use because it
may not be possible to mount it at the desired position and in addition different loads require
different positions. A more versatile arrangement consists of three such stub tuners which can be
mounted in fixed positions and provide sufficient adjustment to match a wide range of loads. The
microwave equivalent of the three stub tuner consists of three adjustable screws mounted along
the axis of the waveguide. Matching is achieved by varying the insertion depth of the screws into
the waveguide.
An alternative view of the impedance matching is in terms of reflected waves. The insertion of a
screw, for example, results in a reflected wave. If the phase and amplitude of this wave can be
adjusted so that it combines with the reflected wave due to the load in such a way as to cancel
Pgina 186 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


out then to the generator side of the tuning screw there is no return wave whereas on the load
side there is still a standing wave. This interference of waves is often utilised in the final coupling
of the waveguide to the load by means of an aperture in a metal plate mounted in the waveguide
at the month of the load applicator. With the correct size of aperture, diffraction of the incident
wave occurs at the hole, that is the hole acts as a source of secondary waves which cancel one
another in the direction of the generator and reinforce each other in the load direction.
In practice with microwave heating systems problems of matching are usually associated with the
final matching at the load, the matching of the microwave source to the waveguide and the
isolation of the source. Data on mounting the microwave generator valve, the magnetron, into the
wave guide is provided by the magnetron manufacturer. The use of an isolator or circulator solves
the isolation problem leaving the matching of the load to be accomplished. In cases where the
generator is not isolated then matching of the load to prevent excessive amounts of power
returning to the magnetron is often of more importance than the efficient energy transfer.

3.7 Excitation of waveguide modes


A qualitative introduction of the various means of excitation will now be given with reference to
Figure 3.8. To excite a particular mode, it is necessary to study the field pattern and use one of
the following concepts:
Introduce the excitation in a probe or antenna oriented in the direction of the electric field
and in the vicinity of a maximum value. The exact location depends on impedance
matchine as discussed below.

Introduce the excitation through a loop oriented in a plane normal to the magnetic field of
the mode pattern.

Couple to the mode from another guiding, system by means of a hole or iris, the two
systems having a common field component over the extent of the hole. The size of the
hole is determined by matching considerations.

Pgina 187 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.8 a) Antenna in End of Circular Guide for Excitation of TM01 Wave b) Antenna in
Bottom of Rectangular Guide for Excitation of the TE10 Wave c) Loop in End of
Rectangular Guide for Excitation of TE10 Wave d) Junction between Circular Guide (TM10
Wave) and Rectangular Guide (TE10 Wave) Large-Aperture Coupling.
In general these methods will result in more than one mode close to the excitation point but
usually the dimensions of the guide are such that the higher modes are beyond cut off and so
constitute a reactive load in the neighbourhood of the source. This reactive load must be
cancelled and the waveguide matched to the characteristic impedance of the magnetron. For the
commonly encountered case of TE10 excitation in a rectangular waveguide this is achieved by
mounting the exciting probe a short distance (around guide/4) from the shorted end of the
waveguide with the other side of the guide extending in the direction of wave propagation.

3.8 Microwave resonant cavities


A microwave cavity is the equivalent of the radio frequency resonant circuits consisting of
inductance and caracitance. lt is a means of storing electromagnetic energy which is dissipated at
a rate dependent upon the Q factor of the cavity and at a resonant frequency determined by the
dimensions of the cavity and the dielectric constant of the material placed in the cavity. It is
possible to produce multimode cavities, which have many resonant frequencies due to the
comparatively large number of modes simultaneously excited, or single mode cavities. As with the
rf resonant circuits the aim is to have a high unloaded Q and a low Q factor when the material to
be heated is placed in the cavity. In comparison with rf circuits much higher unloaded Q's can be
obtained and large E fields can be produced in single mode cavities to give very large power
densities.
Pgina 188 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


To see how these cavities evolve from the basic waveguides let us consider the propagation on a
simple transmission line formed using a cylindrical metal pipe with a central electrode running
down its axis a co-axial line shorted at one end by a metal blanking plate and driven by a
generator at the other (Figure 3.9). To a first approximation TEM waves are set up (things are a
little more complicated at the end plates). The short circuit produces a reflected wave and
standing waves are set up with adjacent maxima /2 apart and neighbouring maxima and minima
/4 apart. At the short circuit the electric field is zero.The significant feature is that in any length
which is a multiple of a quarter wavelength, the total energy, assuming no losses for the moment,
is constant, merely interchanging between energy in the electric field of the voltages and the
magnetic field of the currents. At multiples of half a wavelength from the shorted end the
impedance is again zero and so conceptually one could place a short circuit there to produce a
resonant circuit with the energy stored in the electric and magnetic fields just as for the L-C
circuits described earlier. Of course there is the question of getting the energy into the closed
system in the first place. This can be achieved by one of the methods discussed in connection
with wave excitation without seriously disturbing the field configurations. Ideally, the fields are
produced without interference from or radiation to the outside. In practice when apertures are
made to allow the passage of material some leakage is possible but for a well designed system it
should still be negligible in comparison with the power dissipated in the material. If the source is
exciting the cavity at a frequency to satisfy the /2 criteria the cavity is at resonance and the
oscillations will build up to a large value and in the steady state the generator need only make up
the cavity losses is off the resonance value then the energies in the electric and magnetic field do
not balance and over one part of the cycle the generator must supply extra energy which is then
given back over another part of the cycle with the cavity acting as a reactive load on the
generator. The above principles apply generally to all cavity resonators.

Pgina 189 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.9 Resonant Coaxial System and Standing Waves of Voltage and Current
3.8.1 Single mode cavities
The simplest practical form of resonator is a single mode device made from a rectangular
waveguide operating in the TE10 mode, blanked off at one end (short circuited) and fed hy a
small aperture in a blanking plate at the generator side (Figure 3.10). The length of the cavity is a
multiple number (p) of guide half wavelengths (Figure 3.11). The spatial dependence of the E field
is given by,

and

Pgina 190 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


By placing two such cavities side by side, but displaced in the z direction so that the maxima in
the E field patterns of one cavity correspond to the minima of the other, a system giving tiniform
heating with very large power densities is obtained (Figure 3.12). Such cavities are designated as
TEOlp where p gives the number of half wavelengths in the direction of propagation.

Figure 3.10 Coordinate System in a Waveguide Cavity

Pgina 191 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.11 Development of Standing Waves for a TE103 Resonant Cavity Electric Field
Pattern

Pgina 192 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.12
In a similar manner, a cylindrical cavity can he formed using the TM01 mode in a circular
waveguide of the appropriate length - an integer number p of guide/2's to give a TM01p cavity.
Such an arrangement can be excited by an aperture fed from a TE10 wave in a rectangular
guide, see Figure 3.13. The simplest circular cavity is a TM10 mode with the free dielectric
wavelength equal to the critical wavelength so that = 0. Then for such a mode kcrit = 2.405/a =
2/free hence for a given frequency the correct radius can be obtained. The length of the cavity
can be as stnall as desired and must be less than that for the higher TMO11 mode. The design
and use of single mode cavities is dealt with at some length in the book by Metaxas and Meredith.

Pgina 193 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

Figure 3.13 H-H Coupling of a Cylindrical Cavity to the Connecting Waveguide (after
Metaxas and Meredith)

3.8.2 Multimode resonance cavities


By far the most versatile and widely used cavity is the multimode rectangular cavity. The object is
to obtain a cavity which has a large number of resonant modes within the frequency band of the
generator. Starting with the TE10p resonator it can be seen that as the dimensions of the sides a
b are increased higher modes can exist to give a complicated standing wave pattern. The aims of
the design must be to make the E field variations within the cavity small to avoid localised areas
of high field, which would cause overheating and, secondly, to ensure that enough resonant
modes in the loaded cavity are excited so that as the loading changes when the material is
heated the coupling between the microwave source and the cavity remains reasonably constant
to maintain adequate energy transfer into the cavity. In general these requirements are met by
having the cavity dimensions as large as practicable.
Both TM and TE modes will exist in the cavity and for a cavity of dimensions a:b:d the resonant
frequency f is given by

where m, n, p are integers and c is the velocity of propagation.


For an empty cavity the number of modes dN centred around the resonant frequency f0 can be
estimated from

where df is the frequency spread of the generator. The Q factor of such a cavity (Ramo, p.492)
can be of the order of 1000's, much larger than that attainable using lumped or transmission line
circuits. In practice due to the influence of coupling apertures the Q values are not quite as large
as predicted.
Whilst the formulae for the single mode cavities still apply with some appropriate modificattons
when a lossy dielectric is inserted, unfortunately this is not the case for the multimode cavity.
Pgina 194 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Even the formula for the number of modes quote above for the unloaded case is at best a rougn
guide due to the fact that it does not, take into account the differences between TM and TE
modes or the discrete nature of the mode distribution. Some progress has been made in
describing loaded cavities using transmission line matrix techniques (E1-Deek and Mohamed,
1984) but these have not yet reached the stage where they can he used as a design procedure.
The successful operation of many different sizes of industrial multimode oven testifies that their
construction is possible without detailed design procedures. However it must be said that some
prior experience or willingness to learn from mistakes is required. Manufacturers of equipment
have their own "tricks of the trade" which they keep to themselves. This is one area where more
information on design would be most welcome.

3.9 Principal Symbols for Chapter 3


a,b
dimensions of rectangular waveguide
dN
number of modes
E
electric field strength
E+
values of E for incident
Ereflected wave
EMAX maximum electric field in a rectangular waveguide
f
frequency
fc
critical frequency
H
magnetic field strength
k
wavenumber corresponding to free, k = 2/free
kcrit critical wavenumber, value of k for which = 0
m
integers
p
integers
pmn
integers
Ps
average power flowing along rectangular waveguide
Po
initial power
P(z) power at position (Z) within a dielectric
s
standing wave ratio
t
thickness of wet material
w
angular frequency
z
distance along wavelength
ZTE impedance for TE wave

real part of

imaginary part of

propagation constant in waveguide

dielectric constant
"
loss factor
0
permittivity of free space (air)
free wavelength in dielectric not bounded by conducting walls
crit critical wavelength
guide wavelength in waveguide
AIR wavelength in air

= (0 r/0 )

reflection coefficient
0
permeability of free space (air)
r
relative permeability

Pgina 195 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


4.1 Conclusions
Radio frequency and microwave drying - dielectric drying - is a well established technique in a
number of industries. Its unique, direct, volumetric heat transfer can overcome limitations due to
internal heat and mass transfer and thereby improve the quality of the dried product and increase
the overall efficiency of the drying operation. A number of other benefits due to the all electric
nature of the process exist.
Chief among the limitations is the high capital cost of the equipment. Consequently the
commercial application of these techniques has been mainly for drying operations where
traditional processes have been very unsatisfactory in terms of heat transfer or quality of the final
product. In these cases the improvement in quality and efficiency has far outweighed the extra
initial capital cost.
A new direction is the combination of efficient conventional drying with limited amounts of
dielectric heating. The internal heat and mass transfer due to the volumetric heating is used to
improve the efficiency of the conventional drying. This is seen to hold great potential for materials
which suffer from case hardening.
Since the application of these techniques is very much product dependent, their more widespread
use will rely on a good exchange of information between the potential user and the manufacturers
and laboratories where these techniques are studied.

4.2 Recommendations
The exploitation of these techniques has been slow due to the capital cost limitation. Present
applications have only scratched the surface.
Applications in the chemical industry and with particulate matter are few. There must be many
"difficult" products which are currently dried in a less than optimum manner. Since the technique
is so product dependent the future use of these techniques must be led more by the potential
user than the manufacturer. To this end existing or planned processes must be examined
carefully to see if the benefits of dielectric heating are worth the extra cost. Much more data on
the drying of "real" industrial materials as opposed to the "laboratory standard" ones are required
especially for combinational drying. This is an area for collaboration. If the technique is to diversify
into particulate materials then different methods of handling will be employed. This will require
some work to determine the most suitable means of combining the dielectric heating and the
transport of the particulates.

Pgina 196 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

PARTE 5

Pgina 197 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

5 APPENDIX 2 Glossary of radio-frequency and


microwave heating terms
(courtesy of Electricity Council)
Anode
The positive electrode of an electrical device. Since in mw and rf devices the anode collects the
electrons after they have performed their useful work, it must absorb their kinetic energy which is
dissipated , usually by forced cooling.
Antenna
A device to transform electromagnetic energy from a conducted mode (e.g. in a transmission line)
to a radiated mode or vice-versa.
Applicator
A device for applying mw or rf energy to a product.
Attenuation
When electromagnetic energy pass through a medium, part of the energy is absorbed and usually
converted into heat. This process is called attenuation.
Attenuation Duct
Short tunnels, of restricted aperture, placed at the inlet and outlet of continuous rf heating ovens.
They prevent excessive leakage of rf energy.
Breakdown Strength (of a material).
The electric field strength at which excessive ionisation in the material occurs. The conductive
paths may carbonize or cause arcs and consequential damage.
Cathode
The negative electrode of an electrical device. The cathode is the source of electrons and is often
heated to enhance this emission.
Cavity Oscillator
A type of rf generator construction where the resonant circuit elements are lumped together. The
valve is often enclosed within the cavity.
Capacitative Heating
An alternative term for rf heating.
Co-axial Transmission Line
Pgina 198 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


A co-axial pair of conductors acting as a transmission line.
Conductance
The real part of admittance.
Coupling
The transfer of energy from one portion of a circuit to another.
Critical Coupling
That value of coupling between an energy source or transmission line and a resonant structure
such that all the energy is transferred to the resonant structure and none is reflected. Under such
conditions, the resonant structure is said to be matched to the source or transmission line.
Crystal
The electromechanically resonant quartz crystal used to control some rf generators or the diode
detector used to monitor mw power levels.
Dielectric
A non-conducting medium in which polarisation takes place in an electric field.
Dielectric Constant (symbol )
The ratio of the capacity of a condenser, at a specified frequency, with the material as dielectric to
that of same condenser in vacuo.
Dielectric Lost Factor
The dielectric loss factor is a measure of the amount of energy dissipated in the dielectric medium
and equals the product of the dielectric constant and the loss tangent.
Energy Density
The density of the energy distribution in an electromagnetic wave.
Focusing Magnet
A permanent or electromagnet or series of magnets with field designed to prevent an electron
beam from spreading out.
Gigahertz (GHz)
9 10 Hz.
Hertz (Hz)
1 Hz = 1 cycle/second.
Pgina 199 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Interlock
A device (usually mechanical or electrical) intended to prevent certain actions unless the
necessary conditions for safety are met.
Isolator
A ferrite device allowing transmission of energy in one direction but attenuating it in the other
direction.
Klystron
An electron tube for amplifying or generating mw.
Log Platen
A type of strayfield rf electrode where the rf voltage gradient is increased in an approxirnately log
manner along the platen. This is achieved by varying the bar spacing.
Loss Factor
See dielectric loss factor.
Loss Tangent (symbol tan )
Tangent of the angle between the field in the load and the applied field.
Lumped Circuit
An rf circuit with inductance and capacitance in the same physical component.
Magnetically Focused Triode
A type of triode which could be used for rf generation under certain circumstances.
Magnetron
A thermionic device for generating mw power, widely used for industrial applications.
Meander Line
See serpentine.
Megahertz (MHz)
6 10 Hz.
Microwave Radiation (abbreviation mw)
Electromagnetic radiation in the band 300 MHz to 300 GHz.
Mode
Pgina 200 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


A particular pattern of electromagnetic energy distribution within a confining structure caused by
the interaction of two or more travelling waves.
Mode Stirrer
A device which alters the modes in a cavity to give a more uniform heating effect.
Moding
When a magnetron is forced to operate in some mode apart from the design mode, it is said to be
moding. This is inefficient and destructive of magnetrons and should be designed out as far as
possible.
Multimode Cavity
A cavity, large in relation to the free wavelength, vvhich allows a number of different standing
waves.
Parasitic Oscillation
Any oscillation apart from the fundamental.
Penetration Depth
The distance into a dielectric at which the field strength has decayed to 0.368 of its original value.
Platen
An rf applicator.
Pulsed electrodes
A type of rf electrode where power is applied in discrete pulses allowing the energy to diffuse
between pulses.
Q (quality factor)
The ratio of the energy stored in a device to the energy dissipated in that device.
Radio Frequency Radiation (abbreviation rf)
Electromagnetic radiation in the band 3 MHz to 300 MHz.
Resonant Cavity
A space containing standing waves often used as an applicator of microwave energy.
Serpentine Applicator
A type of travelling wave applicator used particularly for apply microwave energy to flat materials.
Single Ended
Pgina 201 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


A method of operating rf installations where one part of the electrode is earthed and one
generator terminal is earthed.
Skin Depth
Rf currents tend only to flow in the surface of conductors. The depth of this region is known as the
skin depth.
Slug Tuning
The slug is a metal tube in a coil moved in and out to vary the inductance.
Staggered Throughfield Platen
A type of rf through-heating electrode used for thinner work or work of variable thickness.
Standing Waves
See Mode.
Standing Wave Applicator
See Resonant Cavity.
Strayfield Platen
A type of rf electrode vvhere all the electrodes are on one side of the work. Penetration is very
limited.
Stub Tuning
A method of producing even volts on an rf electrode with distributed inductance.
Throughfield Electrode
A simple plate electrode for heating thick materials.
Transmission Line
A device which allows the propagation of electromagnetic energy along it.
Travelling Wave Applicator
A mw applicator where all the input power is either absorbed by the work or by a terminating
water load having negligible reflected power and hence no standing waves.
Triode
A thermionic valve used as the main amplifier for rf work.
Water Load

Pgina 202 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


A load for absorbing rf and mw power in which water is the dissipative as well as the cooling
element.
Waveguide
A device for channelling rf or mw energy from one place to another with little loss and no radiation
hazard.

Pgina 203 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

4 APPENDIX 1 LIST OF EQUIPMENT


MANUFACTURERS
This list does not purport to be complete but rather represents those companies known by the
author to he in operation at the time of writing. Many other firms can be found in the IMPI
directory mentioned in the bibliography.
RADIO FREQUENCY.
Strayfield International Ltd Tessa Road, Reading, Berks RG1 ANT (all aspects)
Rosefair Electronics Ltd, Shakespeare Industrial Estate, Shakespeare Street, Watford, WD2 5HD
(all aspects).
Greenhank-Darwen Engineering Ltd Blackburn, Lancs. England (combinational rf /hot air dryers).
Radyne Ltd Molly Millars Lane, Wokingham, Berks RG11 2PX (Generators only at present
although expertise in all areas).
Stalam SRL 36050 Belvedere di Tezza sul Brenta (VI), Via Munara, 7, Italy (textile applications).
H. Krantz GTnbH & Co Postfach : 830, D-5100 Aachen, West Germany (textile applications)
Plustherm AG CT4-5400 Baden, Switzerland (all aspects)
Induction Heating Equipment Ltd, Walton on Thames, Surrey (principally generators, can advise
on all aspects).
Pegs Whitely Ltd, New Star Road, Leicester LE4 7LP (textile applications).
MICROWAVE
Magnetronics Ltd, St Marys Mills, Fairchem Trading Estate, Evelyn Drive, Leicester LE3 2BU (all
aspects both 896/915 and 2450 MHz).
Microwave Heating Ltd, Power Fouse, unit 1A, Heron Trading Estate, Syndon Park, Luton LU3
3BD (all aspects at 2450 MHz).
Industries micro-ondes internationales, Route de Rambouillet, BPIO, 78680 Epone, France (all
aspects at 2450 MHz).
Calorex AB, PB 2024, S-182 02 Danderyd, Sweden (all aspects at 2450 MHz).
Microdry Corporation, 3111 Fostria Way, San Ramon, California (all aspects at 915 MHZ).
T.K. Fielder Ltd, Mayflower Close, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO5 3AR, England (batch vacuum
dryers 2450 MHz).
Gerling Laboratories, 1628 Kansas Avenue, Modesto, CA 95351 (laboratory equipment and
general consultancy). All aspects of dielectric equipment.
Aeroglide Corporation, P.O. Box Aeroglide, Raleigh, North Carolina 27626-0505, USA (vacuum
dryers for cereals at 915 MHz).
Pgina 204 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

3 REFERENCES
Anon, "Radio Frequency pays dividends", Electrotechnology, 46, 1977.
Anon, Food Engineering, 78, 1979.
Anon, "Update on RF systems for textile processing", International Dyer & Textile Printer, 1985.
Arson, H.B. & Ma, J.H. in Drying '80, Hemisphere Publishing Corp, New York. 1980.
Balfour Ltd., "Microwave drying of granular materials", UK patent application GB 2110803A,
published 22 Jun 1983.
Bengtsson, N.E. & Risman, P.D. "Dielectric properties of food at 3 Ghz as determined by a cavity
perturbation technique. II. Measurements in food materials", J. Micro Power, 6 (2), 107, 1971.
Bialod D. & Marchand, C. "A CAD package for radio frequency strayfield applicators", paper 5.5,
Proc. Cont. on Heating and Processing 1-3000 MHz, Cambridge, (see Perkin 1986), 1986.
Beuhler, A.G. "Method for drying pasta products and apparatus for bulk material treatment", UK
patent specification 156054, published 1980.
Cliff, M.J. "Fibre optic temperature measurement in a batch microwave dryer", paper 4.1,
proceedings of symposium "Exploiting fibre optics in the process industries", 3 April 1985,
Manchester, published by the north western branch of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, UK,
1985.
Cross, A.D., Jones, P.L. & Lawton, J. Trans. I.Chem.E., 60, 67, 1982.
Dittrich, H.F. "Tubes for RF heating", 2nd edition, Philips Publication Dept, Eindhoven, 1977.
El-Deek, M.E. & Mohamed, N.H. "Use of Transmission Line Matrix Method in Determining the
Resonant Frequencies of Loaded Microwave Ovens", J. Micro Power, 19, (1) 65-73, 1984.
Fielder, T. & Fielder, T.K. "Microwaves - a new way to dry drugs", Manuf. Chemist, 45, 1983.
Gardner, D.R. & Butler, J.L. Paper given at 2nd Int. Drying Symposium, Montreal. 1980.
Grant, E. "Biological effects of radio and microwaves, paper 8.4, Proc. Cont. on Heating and
Processing 1-300 MHz, Cambridge, (see Perkin 1986), 1986.
Grassman, H.C. Wochenbl. Papfabr, 107(17), 661, 1979.
Harvey, A.F. "Microwave Engineering", Academic press, New York, 1963.
Huang, H.F, Yaks, R.A. J. Micro Power 15(1), 15, 1980.
ICI Ltd, "Process for drying vinyl chloride polmer cake and drier therefore" UK patent application,
GB 2049899 A, published 31 Dec 1980, 1980.
Kaisha Ltd, "Method of making instantly cookable noodle.,;', British Patent Specification 1587,
977, 1981.
Pgina 205 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Jones, P.L. "Heat and Mass Transfer in rf Dryers", PhD thesis, Loughborough University, UK,
1981.
Lefetivre, S. et.al, "Industrial materials drying by microwaves and hot air" Digest of 1978 IMPI
Microwave Power Symposium, Ottawa, p65. 1978.
Kolbe, E. Von & Martin, H.C. "Combined drying by infrared and high frequency heating",
Electrowarme 25(7), 258 (1967).
Lefeuvre, S. Phys. Technol, 12, 155 and ref. therein, 1981.
Lind, H. & Popert, F. "Electroheat", Special ed. Brown Boveri Rev, 312OE-IV, 3, S/VII, 12(4.65),
1965.
Luikov, A.V., "Heat and mass transfer in capillary porous bodies", Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1966.
Lyons, D.W., Hatcher, J.D. & Sunderland, J.E., Int. J. Ht. Mass Transfer, 15(5), 897, 1972.
Metaxas, A.C. & Driscoll, J.D. "Comparison of the dielectric properties of paper and board at
microwave and radio frequencies, J. Micro Power, 9(2), 79, 1974.
Metaxas, A.C. & Meredith, R.J. "Industrial microwave heating", Peter Peregrinus Ltd, London,
1983.
NRPB, "Advice on the protection of workers and members of the public from possible hazards of
electric and magnetic fields with frequencies below 300 Ghz : a consultative document". National
Radiological Protection Board, 1986.
Ockress, E.C. editor, "Microwave power engineering", p208-209, Academic Press, New York,
1968.
Otoshi, T.Y., "A study of microwave leakage through perforated flat plates" IEEE Trans.
Microwave
Theory and Techniques. Vol. MTT20, 235-236 March 1972.
Ovren, C. Adolfsson, M. & Hok, B, "Fibre optic systems for temperature and vibration
measurements in industrial applications", paper B3, Proc. Int. Cont. on Optical Techniques in
Process Control, The Hague, Netherlands, June 1983; published by BHRA Fluid Engineering,
Cranfield, Bedford MK43 OAJ England.
Pendergrass, J.E, Hatcher, J.D. & Lyons D.W., J. Micro Power 1982 7(3), 207.
Perkin, R.M., unpublished results and "Prospects of drying with radio frequency and microwave
electromagnetic fields", 1979, Jnl. Separ. Proc. Technol, 1(1), 14, 1979.
Perkin, R.M. "Heat and mass transfer characteristics of boiling point drying using radiofrequency
and microwave fields", Int J Ht Mass Transfer, 23, 687, 1980.

Pgina 206 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Perkin, R.M. "The drying of porous materials with electromagnetic energy generated at radio and
microwave frequencies", Progress in Filtration and Separation, Vol 3, edited by R.J. Wakeman,
Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1983a.
Perkin, R.M. "Dielectric drying of a fixed bed of particles, Electricity Council Research Centre
Memorandum M1677, 1983b.
Perkin, R.M. "The modelling of RF coupled circuits", paper 1.3, Proc. Cont, Heating and
Processing 1-3000 MHz, St John's College, Cambridge, England, Publishers - British National
Committee for Electroheat, 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4RD, England, 1986.
Philips, "YJ1600 magnetron for microwave heating up to 6kW", Philips technical publication 219.
Rzepecka-Stuchly, M.A. "Microwave energy in foam mat dehydration process", J. Micro Power,
11(3), 255, 1976.
Shute, R. Private Commxinication, 1986.
Silver, S. "Microwave antenna theory and design", Peter Peregrinus, London, 1983.
Smith, F.J, Microwave Energy Applications Newsletter, XII(6), 6-12. 1979.
Stuchly, S.S. "Dielectric properties of some granular solids containing water", J Micro Power, (2),
62, 1970.
Strumillo, C. "Podstawy teorii i techniki suszenia", Publishers-Wydawnictwa NaukowoTechniczne, Warsaw, 1983.
Swift, G. "The ARFA (Air Radio Frequency Assisted) Dryer", paper 3.1, Proc Conf on Heating and
Processing 1-3000 MHz, Cambridge, see Perkin 1986.
Terman, F.E. "Radio Engineers Handbook", McGraw Hill, New York, p 55, 1943.
Tinga, W.R. & Voss, W.A. "Generalised approach to multipbase dielectric mixture theory", J. Appl.
Phys, 44, 3897, 1984.
Whitaker, S. "Simultaneous heat, mass, and momentum transfer in porous media : a theory of
drying", Adv. in heat transfer, vol. 13, 119, 1977.
Wickersheim, K. & Sun, M, "Phospors and fibre optics remove doubt from difficult temperature
measurements", Research and Development, 1985.
Witters, Jr. & Herman, W.A. "Inexpensive microwave oven survey", 1984.

Pgina 207 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

2 BIBLIOGRAPHY
Economic Considerations
P.S. Schmidt, Electricity and Industrial Productivity, Pergamon Press, Oxford 1984.
Directory of Equipment
W. Wyslouzil, International Directory of Electromagnetic Heating and Instrumentation 1985/1986,
IMPI, Tower Suite 520, 301 Maple Av., W. Vienna, VA 22180, USA.
Dielectric Data and Principles
A.C. Metaxas, R.J. Meredith, Industrial Microwave Heating Peter Peregrinus, London, 1983.
A Von Hippel, Dielectric Materials and Applications, MIT Press, Massachusetts, 1954.
E.H. Grant, R.J. Sheppard, G.P. South, Dielectric Behaviour of Biological Molecules in Solution,
Clarendon Press, Oxford 1978.
F. Buckley and A.A. Maryot, Tables of Dielectric Dispersion Data for Pure Liquids and Dilute
Solutions, National Bureau of Standards Circular 589, Washington, USA, 1958.
J.B. Hasted, Aqueous Dielectrics, Chapman and Hall, London, 1973.
Issues of the Journal of Microwave Power
Drying background
A.V. Luikov, Heat and Mass Transfer in Capillary-porous Bodies, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1966.
R.B. Keey, Drying Principles and Practice, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1972.
Electromagnetic Background
S. Ramo, J.R. Vhinnery, T. Van Duzer, Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics, 2nd
Edition, J. Wiley, New York, 1984. This book is strongly recommended.
B.I. Bleaney and B. Bleaney, Electricity and Magnetism lst Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford,
1957.
RF Techniques
H.F. Dittrich, Tubes for RF Heating, 2nd edition, Philips Publication Dept. Eindhoven, 1977.
J.W. Cable, Induction and Dielectric Heating, Reinholds, New York, 1954.
J.D. Ryder, Enginering Electronics, McGraw Hill, New York, 1957.
L.L. Langton, Radio Frequency Equipment, Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, London, 1949.
F.E. Terman, Radio Engineers Handbook, McGraw Hill, New York, 1943.
Pgina 208 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying


Microwave Techniques
E.C. Okress, Microwave Power Engineering, Vol. I and 2, Academic Press New York, 1968.
D.A. Copson, Microwave Heating, 2nd edition, Avi Publishing Company, 1975.
H. Puschner, Heating and Microwaves, Philips Technical Library, Eindhoven, 1966.
A.C. Metaxas, R.J. Meredith, Industrial Microwave Heating, Peter Peregrinus, London, 1983.
The titles below are primarily for microwave transmission but contain some data for design:
A.F. Harvey, Microwave Engineering, Academic Press, London, 1963.
T. Moreno, Microwave Transmission Design Data, McGraw Hill, New York, 1948.
C.G. Montgomery, R.H. Dicke, E.M. Purcell, Principles of Microwave Circuits, McGraw Hill, New
York, 1948.
N. Marcuvitz, Waveguide Handbook, Dover Publications, New York, 1951.
G.C. Southworth, Principles and Applications of Waveguide Transmission, D. Van Nostrand, New
York, 1952.

Pgina 209 de 210

Radio Frequency and Microwave Drying

1 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the assistance of those who provided the information on their
products cited in the text. In addition a number of people deserve individual thanks:Dr M. Cliff (ICI)
Mrs C. Lissmore-Kerr (Mullard Ltd)
Mr L. Atherton (formerly of James Cropper & Sons Ltd)
Mr R. Shute (Microwave Heating Ltd)
Mr J. Mitton (Magnetronics Ltd)
Mr T. Fielder (T. K. Fielder Ltd)
Dr I. Holme (Leeds University)
Drs D. Bialod & M. Jolion (Electricitie de France)
Mr B. Edin (Calorex AB)
Dr A-J. Berteaud (CNRS, France)
Mr E. Cox (Radyne Ltd)
Mr M.Beck (Strayfield International Ltd)
Mr J. Gerling (Gerling Laboratories, USA)
Mr F. J. Smith (Microdry Corporation)
Mr J. F. Kelly (Aeroglide Corporation)
Mr N. Meisel (IMI, France)

Pgina 210 de 210