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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cotton Mass Flow Measurement: Experiments with Two Optical Devices

Authors
item Thomasson, John - MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIV.
item Pennington, D - YAZOO-MS DELTA WTR MGT DS
item Pringle, H - DELTA RES. & EXT. CTR.
item Columbus, E - MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIV.
item Thomson, Steven
item Byler, Richard

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 14, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: For continued profitability in modern agriculture, it is increasingly important to know how well different parts of a field produce a crop so management of deficient areas can be improved. Yield monitoring accomplishes this and allows changes in management to be made to maximize profit. It is also important to process each quantity of a crop in the optimal manner. This is called process control, which also maximizes profit. Yield monitoring in cotton production requires the ability to measure the flow of cotton in an air stream. The ability to measure cotton flow in such a way would also be very useful in cotton gin process control systems. In this work, two instruments were developed and tested for their accuracy in measuring the flow rate of cotton in a harvester and in different locations in a gin. One device worked well in both applications. The other, more compact, device worked well in measuring seed cotton flow, which is important to harvesting and the unloading process at the gin. Both devices show promise and will be tested further.

Technical Abstract: Mass flow measurement of pneumatically conveyed cotton is important in at least two processes: yield monitoring during harvesting, and input and determinations at various stages of ginning. In this work, two electronic devices were constructed and tested for measuring the flow of pneumatically conveyed cotton. One (device A) was used to collect data in the seed- cotton unloading duct of a gin, a cotton picker duct, and a lint-cleaner- exhaust duct. The other (device B) was used to collect data in the seed- cotton unloading duct of a gin and a lint-cleaner-exhaust duct. Tests were conducted in which known amounts of cotton were conveyed through the duct over a known time period, making it possible to calculate the average actual material flow rate. The average output of each device during the test runs was also calculated. Actual flow rate was compared to measured flow rate with linear regression. For seed cotton in the unloading duct, both devices performed well. For seed cotton in the picker chute, device performed well, but device B was not tested. For waste in the lint- cleaner-exhaust duct, device A performed well and better than device B. In most cases, the correlation between sensor output and cotton mass flow was strong. Both devices look promising for application in appropriate locations in a cotton picker or gin.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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