Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Jiann-Yang Hwang


Heat transfer is considered as one of the most critical issues for design and implement of large-scale microwave heating systems, in which improvement of the microwave absorption of materials and suppression of uneven temperature distribution are the two main objectives. The present work focuses on the analysis of heat transfer in microwave heating for achieving highly efficient microwave assisted steelmaking through the investigations on the following aspects: (1) characterization of microwave dissipation using the derived equations, (2) quantification of magnetic loss, (3) determination of microwave absorption properties of materials, (4) modeling of microwave propagation, (5) simulation of heat transfer, and (6) improvement of microwave absorption and heating uniformity.

Microwave heating is attributed to the heat generation in materials, which depends on the microwave dissipation. To theoretically characterize microwave heating, simplified equations for determining the transverse electromagnetic mode (TEM) power penetration depth, microwave field attenuation length, and half-power depth of microwaves in materials having both magnetic and dielectric responses were derived. It was followed by developing a simplified equation for quantifying magnetic loss in materials under microwave irradiation to demonstrate the importance of magnetic loss in microwave heating. The permittivity and permeability measurements of various materials, namely, hematite, magnetite concentrate, wüstite, and coal were performed. Microwave loss calculations for these materials were carried out. It is suggested that magnetic loss can play a major role in the heating of magnetic dielectrics.

Microwave propagation in various media was predicted using the finite-difference time-domain method. For lossy magnetic dielectrics, the dissipation of microwaves in the medium is ascribed to the decay of both electric and magnetic fields. The heat transfer process in microwave heating of magnetite, which is a typical magnetic dielectric, was simulated by using an explicit finite-difference approach. It is demonstrated that the heat generation due to microwave irradiation dominates the initial temperature rise in the heating and the heat radiation heavily affects the temperature distribution, giving rise to a hot spot in the predicted temperature profile. Microwave heating at 915 MHz exhibits better heating homogeneity than that at 2450 MHz due to larger microwave penetration depth. To minimize/avoid temperature nonuniformity during microwave heating the optimization of object dimension should be considered.

The calculated reflection loss over the temperature range of heating is found to be useful for obtaining a rapid optimization of absorber dimension, which increases microwave absorption and achieves relatively uniform heating. To further improve the heating effectiveness, a function for evaluating absorber impedance matching in microwave heating was proposed. It is found that the maximum absorption is associated with perfect impedance matching, which can be achieved by either selecting a reasonable sample dimension or modifying the microwave parameters of the sample.