Control of thermal runaway in microwave resonant cavities
This article reports direct experimental evidence of the so-called "S curve" of temperature versus electrical field strength when materials with positive temperature dependence of dielectric loss are heated in a microwave resonant cavity applicator. A complete discussion of how the experimental results were achieved is presented. From the experimental results, we believe the S curve theory provides an incomplete explanation of thermal runaway in microwave heating. To understand microwave heating in a resonant cavity, cavity effects must be considered. To explain the experimental results, a theoretical model based on single-mode waveguide theory is developed. Finally, a method to control thermal runaway is described. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.