Hot foods are psychologically pleasing. Food heating systems are currently part of the astronaut feeding program. An electrical method of heating foods during dispensing in space uses magnetic induction heating. The process is up to 95% efficient in converting electricity into food heat during the process of dispensing. There is no direct contact between the electrical source and the food.

The proposed system is more efficient in converting electricity to food heat than existing approaches. It can be used to heat food during the operation of dispensing. The system is lighter in weight and higher in heating efficiency than microwave heating.

Magnetic induction oscillates current back and forth between an inductance (L) and a capacitance (C). A metal object placed inside the induction coil heats rapidly and efficiently. The coil docs not touch the metal, which can be isolated in a non-electrically conductive insulator such as a dispensing tube. Food enters via a flexible tube from the cold mass side. The coil inductively heats a metal heat exchanger placed inside it. The heated food exits on the heated mass outlet. The coil is attached to a power supply in resonance at connection points.

Optimally, 95% of the electricity delivered to the coil is converted to heat in the metal. Most of the remaining 5% of energy is spent in other productive loads such as panel lights and circuit operation. The magnetic induction heating innovation increases the energy efficiency and convenience of serving heated food in space. Induction heating is potentially a replacement for steam heating in industrial processes (including food processing) that currently use steam.

The small business, PROVE IT, LLC, elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to

PROVE IT
LLC
851 Mill Creek Circle
Elgin
IL 60123.

Refer to MSC-25146-1


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This article first appeared in the June, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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