Modeling Ultrasonically Assisted Convective Drying of Eggplant

Autores UPV


Modeling constitutes a fundamental tool with which to analyze the influence of ultrasound on mass transfer phenomena during drying. In this work, the study of the effect of power ultrasound application on the drying kinetics of eggplant was addressed by using different models based on theoretical (diffusion) or empirical approaches. Drying kinetics of eggplant cylinders (height 20mm and diameter 24 mm) were carried at 40°C and 1 m/s applying different ultrasonic powers: 0, 6, 12, 19, 25, 31, and 37 kW/m 3. The experiments were carried out at least three times at each different ultrasonic power. Shrinkage and sorption isotherms were also addressed in order to attain an optimal description of eggplant drying. Applying ultrasound sped up the drying kinetics. The ultrasonic power was identified as having a significant (p<0.05) influence on both the effective moisture diffusivity and the mass transfer coefficient, which was well explained by linear relationships. The most complex model, which considered both external resistance and shrinkage to be significant phenomena, provided the best agreement with experimental data, giving percentages of explained variance of over 99.9% and mean relative errors of under 1.2% in every case. According to these results, ultrasound technology could have the potential to improve the convective drying of eggplant at an industrial scale. © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.