An integrated numerical model is developed for the modeling of microwave thermal processing of food packages in industrial MW applicators for the purpose of food sterilization. The model employs a hybrid boundary/finite element method for the solution of 3-D Maxwell equations and the finite element method for thermal calculations. The coupling of the electromagnetic and thermal models is made by the use of an iterative procedure. The integrated model is applied to study the microwave distribution in industrial scale microwave applicators and the absorbed power and the temperature field within the packaged foods. Calculated results are compared with experimental measurements. Results show that the temperature distribution in food packages immersed in water differs significantly from that in air.

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