Submitted to: Electronics Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Moisture content is the most important quality characteristic of cereal grains and many other agricultural products that determines suitability for safe storage. Grain moisture contents are determined by sampling grain lots and testing samples in batch type electronic moisture meters that sense the electrical properties of the grain. The ability for on-line moisture monitoring of grain and other granular materials as they flow into storage or are moved for loading or processing, would provide better moisture information for improved management and quality control. Microwave measurements provide a technique for such on-line monitoring of moisture content that is reliable even though the bulk density of the material fluctuates as it is moving. However, separate calibrations for different types of materials are required. Research has identified a new function of the dielectric properties of wheat and corn that can be used for moisture determination from microwave measurements from the same calibration. Similar results were obtained with other microwave measurements on oats and rapeseed. A unified calibration that can be used for many different grain types would provide a cost-saving advantage in the development and use of moisture monitoring instrumentation, thus improving the opportunities for application of such equipment in the industry. Application of the technique would provide advantages in delivering high quality products and maintaining competitive advantages for American agriculture in the global market.
Technical Abstract: Dielectric methods are commonly used for nondestructive continuous sensing of moisture content in granular materials. However, an individual calibration equation is required for each particular material. In this paper, a unified calibration method for moisture content determination is presented that provides reliable information regardless of the grain type.