Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 21st International Drying Symposium

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Electrically enhanced drying of white champignons
Ivanna Bashkir, Tadeusz Kudra, Alex Martynenko

Last modified: 26-12-2018


Effects of convective cross-flow of air in electrohydrodynamic (EHD) drying on drying rate of 5 mm slices of champignons have been investigated. Electro-convection issued from discharge electrode (42 needles arranged into 6×7 rows with 2×2 cm spacing, 18 kV DC voltage and 3.5 cm gap) provided average ionic wind velocity of 1.0 m/s flowing perpendicularly to the surface of champignons slices, while forced air stream at atmospheric pressure 1000 kPa, superficial velocity 1.0 m/s, temperature 22-24°C, and relative humidity 25-40%, was blown parallel to the surface of champignons slices. To study interactions between forced air cross-flow and electro-convection, the experimental protocol was designed, exploring three cases in various combinations: (1) Sole EHD, (2) air cross-flow, and (3) EHD with simultaneous air cross-flow. The case # 3 was found to be the most efficient, resulting in 10.2 g/h of water evaporation whereas drying rate was 6.6 g/h (# 1) and 3.6 g/h for (# 2). Such numbers imply that these effects are additive. In some combinations the effect of air cross-flow was the same (3.6 g/g), but electro-convection was significantly suppressed to 3.2 g/h likely because air stream removed surface water, which reduced charge transfer and electro-diffusion.

In trials with different initial moisture content it was found that drying kinetics followed exponential decay in the wide range of initial moisture contents from 4.9 to 12.0 g/g (db). Drying rate due to forced air convection was found to be independent of moisture content, whereas drying rate due to electro-convection significantly depended on the moisture content. For example, the EHD drying rate of fresh-cut champignons slices with initial moisture content 10.74 g/g was 0.237 g/h, while the slices after two days in the cooler (initial moisture content dropped to 4.92 g/g) it was 0.418 g/h. Also, it was found that electro-convective drying could not remove all residual water. At the end of drying the equilibrium moisture content attained 0.2 - 0.3 g/g (aw~0.3).

It appears that performance of EHD drying depends also on the product porosity as water can exist as free in open pores or be trapped in closed pores. In some experiments we observed rotation of champignon slices in the plane perpendicular to ionic wind. It happened at the end of drying when slices were light enough to be lifted by electrostatic force and dragged by the vortex. This phenomenon could be attributed either to the effect of DC electric field on polarized water molecules trapped in closed pores, or it could be electrostatic effect of ionic wind on charged porous body. Also, the hypothesis that EHD has both linear and rotational (vortex) components require further investigation.

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