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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Research Project #437005

Research Project: Plastic Contaminants Detection and Handling and Cotton Moisture Determination for Improved Ginned Cotton Quality

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Project Number: 6066-41440-009-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2019
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

Objective 1. Develop the technology and methodology for detecting and removing plastic contaminants from the cotton being ginned. Objective 2. Develop an inline and real-time cotton moisture monitoring system for close-loop optimization of cotton ginning and for predetermining the moisture of cotton seed for storage.

Optical sensors array, both transmissive and reflective will be evaluated at different bands of wavelengths to identify the spectral band(s) most conducive to differentiating between cotton and plastic contaminants. Both bench-top and micro-gin experiments will be conducted to collect pertinent static and dynamic data as well as operational characteristics of the sensors. The planned location for detecting plastic contaminant for this project is at the gin stand prior to the lint cleaning stage. At this location, the cotton fiber is fed into the gin stand gravitationally (forced air is absent), and it represents the location in which the cotton travels at the lowest relative speed. Simultaneous with the development of detection technology, pneumatic and electro-mechanical mechanisms for segregating contaminants from the cotton will be studied. Pneumatic positive and negative pressure methods, as well as electro-mechanical methods will be evaluated. The pneumatic positive pressure method involves the use of pressurized air to eject cotton and the contaminant out of the flow stream to a designated collector, while the pneumatic negative pressure method involves the use of vacuum to extract cotton and the contaminants out of the flow stream into a collector. The Gin Stand of the micro-gin of the USDA Cotton Ginning Lab in Stoneville, Mississippi, will be a key component of this research effort. The plastic contaminants detection and removal technologies will be attached to the gin stand in an experimental basis to validate the various performance characteristics of the system. Develop a reliable sensing method to accurately characterize the flow rate of seed cotton and cotton seed being produced by the gin. The flow rate data will be used to predict the instantaneous bulk density of seed cotton and cotton seed in ginning process. Together with capacitance moisture sensing, the moisture content of the seed cotton and cotton seed will be determined. Offline experiments in a separate location at the USDA Cotton Ginning Lab will be initially performed to enable quick turnaround test-modification and calibration cycles.