Inderscience Publishers

Effect of microwave and hot air drying on flax straw at controlled temperatures

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Flax stems were subjected to microwave drying at controlled temperatures. The rate of drying was then compared with conventional hot air drying. The product temperature was maintained at 40°C, 60°C and 80°C for both microwave and hot air drying. The moisture content of flax stem was about 70% (wet basis). The microwave drying was conducted in a microwave apparatus which recorded mass, product temperature, incident microwave power, reflected microwave power and inlet/outlet air temperature. The final moisture content for experiment was set to 9% (wet basis). Microwaveconvective drying ensured about 30% to 70% reduction of drying time for drying flax straw as compared to hot air drying. Curve fitting with different mathematical models were carried out and all the models were fitted well for both hot air and microwave drying. The tensile strength of flax straw, measured with an Instron apparatus, increased with an increase in the processing temperature of both processes. Hot air dried flax straw showed the greatest tensile strength and modulus of elasticity at processing temperatures of 60°C and 80°C with a significant difference.

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