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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Initial Development of a New Portable Moisture Meter for Cotton

Authors
item Byler, Richard
item Anthony, William

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 3, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The quality of lint produced by a gin is dependent on the initial quality of the seed cotton and on the type of drying and cleaning performed at the gin. Both the efficiency of the cleaning and the damage done to the fibers during ginning and cleaning is controlled, to a large part, by the moisture content of the fiber as it is being processed. In order to properly control the drying process, the ginner must be able to quickly and easily measure the moisture content of the cotton; however, a technology is not commercially available to adequately measure moisture. The purpose of this study was to develop an inexpensive, accurate, portable moisture meter for cotton to solve that problem. A battery powered, portable, moisture meter was developed for cotton using concepts of a recently patented resistance moisture meter. The meter was calibrated with cotton that had been equilibrated at several different relative humidities by comparing the readings of the meter with those by a standard laboratory technique. The meter worked well and accurately measured moisture content within 0.21 percent. The meter will allow ginners to improve cotton processing by maintaining fiber quality while increasing producer profits.

Technical Abstract: A battery powered, portable, moisture meter was developed for cotton using concepts of a recently patented resistance moisture meter. Similar designs have been used in non-portable applications with the Agricultural Marketing Service ( AMS) classing offices and in cotton gins. The 8 in. by 9 in. by 10.5 in. meter weighs about 30 pounds including a 10 pound sample compression weight. The meter has a push button to signal when a reading is to be taken on the sample in the measurement chamber; the moisture content is then indicated on a liquid crystal display. The meter was calibrated using three replications of 16 cotton samples that had been equilibrated at several different relative humidities. No problems were encountered in the use of the meter and evaluation of data obtained with five independent sets of 16 cotton samples resulted in a standard difference between the resistance-based moisture reading and the oven moisture measurement of the same samples of 0.21 percent, wet basis.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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