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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Research Project #438204

Research Project: Thermal Effects on Mechanical Performance of Steels Used in Post-Harvest Processing

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Project Number: 3050-41000-010-068-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 5, 2020
End Date: May 31, 2023

The wear rate of components used for agricultural post-harvest processing may be reduced by deep cryogenic treatment (DCT), saving on downtime, labor, and replacement part costs. The objective of this cooperative research project is to quantify the properties of components with and without DCT, to explain the impact on performance factors such as processing rate, component longevity, and replacement cost that may arise from measurable properties, including mechanical properties such as tensile strength and fatigue resistance, and micro-structural properties such as resistivity and dislocation density.

Components from the machinery used in commercial cotton gins, tree nut hulling and processing lines, and other post-harvest processing facilities will be randomly assigned to two groups, one group undergoing deep cryogenic treatment (DCT) and one remaining untreated. Specimens will be evaluated for tensile strength, fatigue resistance, and toughness using a universal tester. Specimens will be evaluated for micro-structure using a scanning electron microscope and an atomic force microscope. These results will be correlated to specimen resistivity as evaluated using a precision four-point probe (Kelvin technique). Resistivity, micro-structure, and other properties will be assessed as possible predictors to explain performance differences of components, and to make recommendations to industry regarding cryogenics.