Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2005
Publication Date: 2/27/2006
Citation: Byler, R.K. 2006. Resistance-type portable cotton lint moisture meter. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 22(1): 13-15
Interpretive Summary: Seed cotton arrives at the gin with varying amounts of trash and moisture. For the best trash removal with the least damage to the fiber during cleaning and ginning, the lint moisture content needs to be maintained within a relatively narrow range. Previous work produced a USDA-patented moisture meter capable of measuring the lint moisture content accurately enough but this meter is part of a complete drying control system. The new meter was licensed to private industry and some gins have installed the meter but others use commercially available portable meters to monitor the lint moisture content. The portable meters are not accurate enough to keep the moisture content within the rather narrow target range. This work used the USDA-patented moisture sensor with additional electronics to construct two prototype portable moisture meters. These meters were demonstrated to be accurate enough for monitoring and adjusting the gin drying systems. Proper operation of the drying systems will result in higher quality cotton lint which will be less expensive to process in the gin and more valuable in the market.
Technical Abstract: Knowledge of and proper control of moisture in cotton lint is crucial to optimal operation of cotton gins. Currently available portable meters have a standard error of 0.5 to 1.0 percentage points which is not as accurate as desired. A battery powered, portable, resistance-based cotton lint moisture meter was designed and two units constructed using a sensing grid which has been used in non-portable applications in gins. The entire weight of the meter, 5.8 kg (12.8 lb.), consistently pressed the electrodes against the sample. The meters used a toggle switch for commands from the operator and displayed results on a liquid crystal display. The meter readings of well conditioned lint compared to the oven-based moisture content were used in calibration. A separate data set was used to check the calibration and the standard error was found to be 0.26 percentage points for both units over the range 4.3% to 10.2%.