Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 2004
Publication Date: June 1, 2004
Citation: Baker, K.D., Hughs, S.E., McAlister III, D.D. 2004. Bale moisture addition with a rotor spray system. In: Proceedings of the National Cotton Council. 2004 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 5-9, 2004, San Antonio, Texas. 2004 CDROM. p. 3055. Interpretive Summary: Cotton producers and ginners are interested in adding moisture to cotton lint as it is packaged into bales after ginning in order to increase profitability. Systems which use steam to add moisture have been used for many years. Recently, systems which spray a water mist have been marketed for adding moisture to cotton lint. A concern has arisen among the cotton textile industry about the storability of cotton bales that have had moisture added. Certainly, there is a level at which the added moisture will result in microbial growth that can affect the lint color. Steam systems are limited in the amount of moisture that can be added, and color changes have not been a problem to date. The new spray systems are capable of adding many times more water than a steam system, and some problems have been noted. This research is one of several projects to generate data for which a voluntary, industry-wide standard can be forged regarding the acceptable level of moisture addition to cotton lint with spray systems. This study also reports on results from a rotor spray system rather than the alternate spray nozzle system that can be used. The rotor spray system is better for adding moisture to lint because finer droplets are produced and the spray is distributed more evenly across the width of the cotton bale.
Technical Abstract: Tests were conducted using a rotor spray system to apply moisture in the form of fine water droplets to cotton lint at the lint slide just before bale packaging. Initial cotton moisture content ranged from 5.0 to 5.5% dry basis. Bales in this study will be stored for 3, 6, and 12 months and cotton quality degradation determined after each of these three storage periods. Seven levels of moisture addition are being studied, including 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, and 11.0% moisture (after rewetting), in addition to bales with no additional moisture added. Although both rotor spray systems and atomizing nozzle spray systems add moisture as water droplets, a rotor spray system will generally apply moisture more uniformly across the width of the lint slide, and will produce a finer droplet size than would an atomizing nozzle system. However, rotor spray systems have more moving parts, and must mount closer to the lint batt as compared to an atomizing nozzle system. Both spray systems produce a fine water mist that does not penetrate the lint batt nearly as well as steam. Results from the storage study of the rotor spray system will be published when the storage times have been completed.