Deactivation analysis of spores in a high temperature gas using a coupled water diffusion and heat transfer model

T. Zhu, D. A. Levin, P. Setlow, W. C. Neely

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


One of the major mechanisms of deactivating spores is to expose them to elevated temperatures. Experiments carried out in an exposure tube to study the effects on spores in a high temperature gas environment provide evidence of spore deactivation. Microbiological tests show that the more likely reason for spore death is due to either protein damage or some damage to the spore's inner membrane, which are processes that are much slower than heat transfer.1 In this paper, we employ a coupled water diffusion and heat transfer model to evaluate the associated time constant for the deactivation of spores due to water diffusion. We find that for a standalone spore, the time for diffusion is on the order of 0.1 to several hundred milliseconds and approximately one order of magnitude longer for a spore in an aggregate. This result is in better agreement with the associated time constant of approximately 75ms obtained from the experiment than our previous study that only considered thermal-structural analyses and leads us one step closer to understanding the deactivation mechanism of spores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication43rd AIAA Thermophysics Conference 2012
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781624101861
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event43rd AIAA Thermophysics Conference 2012 - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2012Jun 28 2012

Publication series

Name43rd AIAA Thermophysics Conference 2012


Conference43rd AIAA Thermophysics Conference 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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