Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Daniel Jackson (Director), Dr. Brent Askins and Shahnaz Aly

Degree Program

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


This thesis addresses the problem healthcare facilities are having in maintaining proper food temperatures while transporting meals to patients after food has left the kitchen area. Induction heat has been a known method for generating heat for many years. The commercial food industry currently uses this technology, which is beginning to appear in the residential sector as well because of developments made by manufacturers. This study focuses on the top commercial brand models of induction heaters and the supporting materials currently used to create heat sources to maintain food temperatures in hospitals and long term care facilities.

The research in this thesis includes data recorded from 6,000 total induction cycles from the 3 leading induction heating models. The focus of the research was to gather data concerning the models’ reliability to consistently create the intended inducement of radio frequency waves as well as deliver consistent temperature reactions from the recorded induction cycles. There were 18,000 temperature data points recorded during different time intervals for each of the induction cycles for the entire study. The results indicate the current technology not only is reliable in creating inductions fields but also in delivering consistent temperatures in the supporting materials being heated.

Induction has been used historically as a fast heating process to treat large metal products and requires no direct contact to create or transfer heat to a surface (Rudnev et al., 2003). The speed and consistent application of heat transfer that has been derived by modern manufacturing induction practices makes it a logical use of existing technology to be applied in maintaining temperatures of food in the healthcare market. However, the focus for commercial equipment manufacturers has been to market products that can consistently maintain desired food temperatures, particularly in the healthcare industry. Traditionally, heating foods was accomplished by physically applying heat to areas where food is stored, in order to reach a certain temperature, and then working to deliver that food to the patient in a timely manner or before it cooled to temperatures that would be deemed too cold for consumption. If the food was too cold, before it was served to the patient, then it was typically micro waved in order to reheat the food. However, reheating food in the microwave is not only detrimental, but it also degrades food quality, texture, and visual presentation (Harvard Health, 2015). As a result, the effort demanded to deliver all foods to all patients, while the food is still at an ideal temperature, has resulted in an increased cost of labor. This is because healthcare facilities have had to hire additional workers to meet the demands placed on the nutrition department related to safe temperatures and speed of food delivery (Aladdin, 2013).


Heat Transfer, Combustion | Materials Science and Engineering | Other Engineering Science and Materials | Other Materials Science and Engineering