Microwave processing of materials has been found to deliver enormous advantages over conventional processing methods in terms of mechanical and physical properties of the materials. However, the non-uniform temperature distribution is the key problem of microwave processing, which is related to the structure of the cavity, and the placement and physical parameters of the material. In this paper, a new microwave cavity structure with a sliding short based on phase-shifting heating is creatively proposed to improve the temperature uniformity. An electronic mathematical model based on the Finite Element Method (FEM) is built to predict the temperature distribution. Meanwhile, a new computational approach based on the theory of transformation optics is first provided to solve the problem of the moving boundary in the model simulation. At first, the experiment is carried out to validate the model, and heating results from the experiment show good agreement with the model’s prediction. Based on the verified model, materials selected among a wide range of dielectric constants are treated by stationary heating and phase-shifting heating. The coefficient of variation (COV) of the temperature and temperature difference has been compared in detail between stationary heating and phase-shifting heating. A significant improvement in heating uniformity can be seen from the temperature distribution for most of the materials. Furthermore, three other materials are also treated at high temperature and the heating uniformity is also improved. Briefly, the strategy of phase-shifting heating plays a significant role in solve the problem of non-uniform heating in microwave-based material processing. A 25%–58% increase in uniformity from adapting the phase-shifting method can be observed for the microwave-processed materials.
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