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Title: Proof of principle non-invasive pulsed electric field study (measurement and experiments)
Author: Banakhr, Fahd
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2013
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Pulsed electric field (PEF) technology applied to food processing was firstly used in the late 1960s. The currently available systems use either conventional Blumlein generators or generators similar to those found in radar power sources to produce the required high voltage pulses. The liquid to be processed is passed through a number of treatment chambers or cells which each contain a pair of electrodes in contact with the liquid. An electric field is thereby applied to the liquid, leading to the technology being termed invasive and it can be used only with liquid food. A novel and non-invasive PEF technology for use in the food processing industry is introduced and investigated in this thesis. The technology represents a novel way of performing PEF treatment. A proof of concept arrangement uses two ceramic cylinders mounted inside the non-invasive PEF cell with a gap of 3 mm between them. A displacement current of the order of mA passes through the non-invasive PEF cell during treatment, as compared with the kA of current usually produced during an invasive treatment. The low current is not only economic in electric energy but also maintains a low food temperature, which implicitly maintains food flavour. In the thesis the electro-optic Kerr effect technique is used to perform accurately the PEF measurement and convincingly prove that strong electric fields are present. Two Kerr water cells were designed and used to determine the Kerr constant for water, since the data presented in the literature is unreliable. The first Kerr water cell uses a pair of Bruce profile stainless steel electrodes and the second a pair of parallel plate stainless steel electrodes. An electro-static solver (Maxwell software) was used to determine the electric field distribution and to calculate the electric field integral to accurately determine the Kerr constant for water. Water samples containing the E-coli bacteria were prepared and filled in the non-invasive PEF cell by the Flavometrix Company. Eight PEF experiments were successfully performed during this research programme and the results show unequivocally that the novel noninvasive technique is effective in significantly reducing the initial concentration of E-coli bacteria. This opens the door for the future design of an industrial prototype.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pulsed electric field ; E-coli ; Non-invasive