Advantages of RF Heating | Disadvantages of RF Heating

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of RF Heating and its basics. It mentions benefits or advantages of RF Heating and drawbacks or disadvantages of RF Heating.

What is RF Heating ?

Radio frequency (RF) is used for various applications in food industry and non-food industry such as plastic, paper etc. It is used to pasteurize, baking, cooking, sterilize and to disinfect food and other commodities such as fruits and dry nuts. RF heating offers safe, tasty and hygienic and fat free food. RF portion covers frequencies from 1 to 300 MHz in the EM (ElectroMagnetic) spectrum. Specific radio frequencies in the range from 10 to 50 MHz such as 13.56 MHz, 27.12 MHz and 40.68 MHz are selected for ISM applications.

RF Heating

The figure depicts RF heating system block diagram. As shown, electricity is applied to RF signal generator which produces RF power for application on selected material under heating. RF power is amplified as required for different food products. The item to be heated is placed between the two electrodes in the cavity. Alternating field is being produced between electrodes which causes polarization of the molecules in the food. This causes generation of heat in the food product. The magnitude of heat varies based on frequency, applied voltage, product dimensions, dielectric loss factor of the material etc.

Benefits or Advantages of RF Heating

Following are benefits or advantages of RF Heating technique.
➨It is rapid heating technique compare to conventional heating. Hence it requires less time to attain desired temperature.
➨It targets food product and not air surrounding the product during heating.
➨It reduces moisture from the food item under heating.
➨It avoids over heating and dehydration of the product surface.
➨RF heating products can be switched ON and OFF immediately.
➨It offers greater heat penetration depth and uniform heat distribution.
➨It does not require any direct contact between food product and its electrodes unlike ohmic heating.

Drawbacks or Disadvantages of RF Heating

Following are drawbacks or disadvantages of RF Heating technique.
➨RF heating products require training to the users for its efficient usage.
➨The cost of electronics components used in this technique is quite high.
➨Energy consumption is higher. This increases cost of electric bills.
➨Different products will require different heating process time due to their shape, size, dielectric material, position etc. Hence temperature uniformity is very difficult to achieve. Hence different temperature settings are required to be performed by user or operator based on food products.
➨RF heating requires shielding of RF signal generators and applicators to meet product specifications.

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