SINGLE-LAYER DRYING BEHAVIOR OF MEXICAN TEA LEAVES (CHENOPODIUM AMBROSIOIDES) IN A CONVECTIVE SOLAR DRYER AND MATHEMATICAL MODELING
AbstractSingle-layer solar drying experiments were conducted for Mexican tea leaves ( Chenopodium ambrosioides ) grown in Marrakech. An indirect forced convection solar dryer was used in drying the Mexican tea leaves at different conditions such as ambient air temperature (21° to 35°C), drying air temperature (45° to 60°C) with relative humidity (29 to 53%), airflow rate (0.0277 to 0.0556 m 3 /s), and solar radiation (150-920 W/m 2 ). The experimental drying curves showed only a falling rate period. In order to select the suitable form of drying curves, 14 mathematical models were applied to the experimental data and compared according to their statistical parameters. The main factor in controlling the drying rate was found to be the temperature. The drying rate equation was determined empirically from the characteristic drying curve. The diffusion coefficient of the Chenopodium ambrosioides leaves was estimated and varied between 1.0209 10 -9 and 1.0440 10 -8 m 2 ·s -1 .The activation energy was found to be 89.1486 kJ·mol -1 .