BACKGROUND: The investigation of drying kinetics and mass transfer phenomena is important for selecting optimum operating conditions, and obtaining a high quality dried product. Two analytical models, conventional solution of the diffusion equation and the Dincer and Dost model, were used to investigate mass transfer characteristics during combined microwave-convective drying of lemon slices. Air temperatures of 50, 55 and 60 °C, and specific microwave powers of 0.97 and 2.04 W g−1 were the process variables.
RESULTS: Kinetics curves for drying indicated one constant rate period followed by one falling rate period in convective and microwave drying methods, and only one falling rate period with the exception of a very short accelerating period at the beginning of microwave-convective treatments. Applying the conventional method, the effective moisture diffusivity varied from 2.4 × 10−11 to 1.2 × 10−9 m2 s−1. The Biot number, the moisture transfer coefficient, and the moisture diffusivity, respectively in the ranges of 0.2 to 3.0 (indicating simultaneous internal and external mass transfer control), 3.7 × 10−8 to 4.3 × 10−6 m s−1, and 2.2 × 10−10 to 4.2 × 10−9 m2 s−1 were also determined using the Dincer and Dost model.
CONCLUSIONS: The higher degree of prediction accuracy was achieved by using the Dincer and Dost model for all treatments. Therefore, this model could be applied as an effective tool for predicting mass transfer characteristics during the drying of lemon slices. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry