An analysis of the microwave dielectric properties of solvent-oil feedstock mixtures at 300-3000 MHz

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Microwaves can be a more efficient method than traditional thermal treatment to deliver the energy required for heating in solvent-oil extraction due to its volumetric, direct coupling with the material. An understanding of the behavior of dielectric properties of solvent-feedstock mixtures is important for designing and optimizing any microwave-based extraction process. In this study rice bran and soybean flour were mixed separately with four different solvents (methanol, ethanol, hexane and isopropanol) at different ratios (1:2, 1:1, 2:1 w/w). For the samples mixed with ethanol, the dielectric properties were measured at 23, 30, 40 and 50 degrees C, while for all other sample-solvent mixtures experiments were performed at room temperature. Dielectric properties were determined using a vector network analyzer and dielectric probe kit using the open-ended coaxial probe method in the frequency range of 300 MHz to 3 GHz. Results from the study indicate that dielectric constants were dependent on frequency and were strongly influenced by temperature, mix ratio and solvent type. The dielectric loss of all mixtures except those with hexane (which were virtually zero) varied with frequency and temperature, solvent type, and mix ratio. Most of the results presented are emphasized at 433, 915 and 2450 MHz, frequencies allocated by the Federal Communication Commission (F.C.C.) for microwave applications. The results of the study, presented here for the first time to our knowledge, will help in selection of appropriate solvent, mixing ratio and frequency for designing microwave-assisted oil extraction systems.

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Bioresource technology

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