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Jiajia Chen

Synopsis of Research Projects

Assistant professor Chen’s current food engineering research program mainly focuses on developing multiphysics and multiscale modeling of food processes for improving food quality and safety.

Microwave Heating

A current domestic microwave oven cannot heat food uniformly and leads to low-quality food products. We develop and use computer simulation models to understand how the product is heated in the microwave oven, and then use the modeling tools to design novel food products and new microwave ovens (such as next-generation multisource solid-state microwave ovens).

Combined Radio-frequency Heating and Vacuum Drying

Radio frequency (RF) wave is an electromagnetic wave, similar to a microwave but has longer wavelength and lower frequency. An RF wave can penetrate deeper into the food product and generate uniform heating. We are using RF heating to pasteurize low-moisture food products. Combined with the vacuum system, we are using RF heating to dry food products (e.g., fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs, etc.) while maintaining quality.

Impact of research

Chen’s research program helps the food industry in developing and adopting novel and improved food processing technologies to manufacture nutritious, high-quality, and safe food products. This significantly benefit the consumers.

Graduate Students and Their Accomplishments

  • Ran Yang, PhD student, fall 2019 to the present
  • Qianyi Chen, master’s student, fall 2019 to the present

Lab Capabilities

  • Multisource solid-state microwave system (under development)
  • Radio-frequency and vacuum dryer
  • FISCO microwave workstation
  • Microway whisper computer workstation (16 core processors and 128 GB of RAM)
  • Multiphysics modeling software–COMSOL Multiphysics