Dielectric Properties of Low-Loss Minerals
Description:As part of the research effort of investigating the effects of microwave energy upon the chemical and physical properties of different minerals and ores, the Bureau of Mines has conducted basic research into identifying those properties of minerals that are affected by microwave energy, namely, the dielectric constant and loss tangent. These properties were determined utilizing the theory of microwave propagation in a coaxial waveguide filled with a dielectric material and measuring the input impedance with an RF impedance analyzer that operates from 1 MHz to 1 GHz. By knowing the microwave frequency and filling the waveguide with a powdered mineral, the dielectric properties of the mineral sample were determined. From these dielectric properties, theoretical microwave heating characteristics of each mineral could be calculated. These same mineral samples were then irradiated by a 915 MHz 30 kW variable power microwave oven and dielectric heating studies were performed. A comparison of the theoretical heating characteristics and the results from actual dielectric heating studies was conducted to evaluate the dielectric property measurements on each mineral. This report presents the results of the Bureau's research in identifying the dielectric properties of low-loss minerals according to the mineralogical classification scheme along with their irradiation studies. Though far from complete, this study represents some of the more frequently encountered low-loss minerals.
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