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Pulsed Electric Field Treatment Chamber Design for Liquid Food Pasteurization Using a Finite Element Method

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. 38(2): 557-565. (doi: 10.13031/2013.27866) @1995
Authors:   B. Qin, Q. Zhang, G. V. Barbosa-Cánovas, B. G. Swanson, P. D. Pedrow
Keywords:   Food, Nonthermal processing, Equipment design, Finite element, Pulsed electric fields

High voltage pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment is a promising nonthermal processing method that may radically change liquid food preservation technology. One of the key components in the PEF pasteurization process is a treatment chamber. In this work, the chamber was designed with the aid of an electric field optimization technique. The finite element method was used in the numerical analysis of electric fields and for optimization of the electrode geometry. Using the optimized electrodes in the coaxial treatment chamber, a prescribed field distribution in foods was achieved without points of electric field enhancement. Two types of treatment chambers, parallel plate and coaxial electrode, were constructed and tested. Microbial inactivation tests were conducted using exponential decaying and square waveforms. Electric field intensity ranged from 20 to 50 kV/cm, while pulse length ranged from 2 to 20 ms. More than seven log cycles of microbial inactivation of Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae were achieved when the food temperature was maintained below 30 C.

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