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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: USING CONVEYING AIR TEMPERATURE TO PREDICT SEED COTTON MOISTURE CONTENT

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective is to develop and test a non-contract, online method of predicting the moisture content of seed cotton in the overhead section of the ginning plant. Having an accurate measure of seed cotton moisture content would greatly aid the ginning plant in managing dryer temperatures.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Knowing the moisture content of the seed cotton as it comes off the trailer or module would help the ginner manage dryer temperatures more efficiently. Using insufficent heat may not adequately dry the seed cotton, resulting in poor cleaning and ginning in the worst case, may cause choke-ups and possibly damage the machinery. Using too much heat can cause static problems that also may cause choke-ups, and it can make pressing a bale more difficult. But more importantly, too much heat damages the fiber, making it brittle and more prone to breakage. The aim is to use only enough heat to obtain a seed cotton moisture content of 6-7% prior to ginning.


3.Progress Report

The objective of this study was to develop and test a simple, non-contact online method of predicting seed-cotton moisture content as seed cotton is being unloaded into the ginning plant. Knowing the moisture content of incoming seed cotton helps gin personnel decide on the amount of cleaning and drying to use as they prepare the seed cotton for ginning. The prediction model uses temperature and mass flow of seed cotton and conveying air to determine the relationship between temperature drop of the conveying air caused by drying the seed cotton over time, and the moisture content of seed cotton. In previous tests at the Glenbar Gin, the modeling system was not calibrated properly because of a lack of wet seed cotton due to the recent drought. A laboratory test that may give suitable wet calibration coefficients for use in the modeling system at the Glenbar Gin has not yet been run due to time constraints. Although the modeling system at the Glenbar Gin has not been properly calibrated and therefore not accurate over the entire range of expected levels of seed cotton moisture content, Glenbar Gin continued to use the system in FY10 because the modeling system did alert gin personnel of extremely high levels of moisture in the seed cotton. Future work includes either running the laboratory test to obtain new coefficients, or calibrating the system at the Glenbar Gin if seasonal rains return to the area and the ginning plant receives very wet cotton. This research will be the basis for a future journal publication. Communication between the Glenbar Gin and the ADODR occurred at industry functions such as the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, the Western Cotton Ginners School, and various state ginners meetings.


Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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