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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SENSING METHODS & INSTRUMENTATION FOR RAPID DETERMINATION OF MOISTURE CONTENT... AND OTHER QUALITY ATTRIBUTES OF GRAINS, SEEDS, & NUTS

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: Field testing a microwave moisture sensor for real-time kernel moisture content monitoring during peanut drying

Authors
item Lewis, Micah
item Trabelsi, Samir
item Nelso, Stuart -

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 6, 2014
Publication Date: July 13, 2014
Citation: Lewis, M.A., Trabelsi, S., Nelso, S. 2014. Field testing a microwave moisture sensor for real-time kernel moisture content monitoring during peanut drying. ASABE Annual International Meeting. ASABE Paper No. 131587669.

Technical Abstract: The present peanut drying process lacks the capability of kernel moisture content determination in real-time. A microwave moisture sensor, developed within USDA ARS, affords the capability of in-shell kernel moisture content determination; thus, providing a means for monitoring kernel moisture content in real-time. An automated quarter-scale drying system, using the microwave sensor, was developed to control drying parameters, monitor kernel moisture content and terminate drying when the target kernel moisture content is reached. The drying system was tested in the laboratory under varying conditions and demonstrated efficient control of the peanut drying process without human interaction. To further assess the performance of the unit for monitoring the drying process, it was compacted and deployed for field testing during the 2013 peanut harvest season at a peanut buying station in central Georgia. It was placed in the 45' drying semi-trailers to monitor the pod and kernel moisture content as the peanuts dried. To maximize the data collected, it was placed in trailers containing peanuts with the highest moisture contents recorded. The pod and kernel moisture content, temperature of the peanuts, and temperature and relative humidity of the ambient air above the peanuts were measured in real-time. All data were time stamped, and kernel moisture contents determined with the monitoring unit were compared to those obtained from check tests by the operator. Preliminary results indicate that performance similar to that obtained in the laboratory can be achieved. The drying system shows promise for providing an effective solution for real-time in-shell kernel moisture content monitoring during the drying process.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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