Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2008
Publication Date: 5/29/2008
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Armijo, C.B., Barnes, E.B. 2008. Pneumatic fractionator for cleaning ginned lint. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 8-11, 2008, Nashville, TN. 2008 CDROM.
Interpretive Summary: There has recently been concern about the amount of short fibers and fiber entanglements in US cotton and the tendency of international markets to consider the US base cotton foreign matter level as a discount cotton. New efforts to improve cotton quality to keep US cotton competitive on the international markets are needed. Prior foreign matter extraction research has concentrated on cleaners with grid bars and saws that are efficient at removing foreign material, but reduce fiber length and tend to tangle fibers. Research evaluating a different type of lint cleaner, that utilizes air to tumble the fiber and scrub it against slotted openings to remove foreign matter, showed that the device removed the foreign matter about as well as the standard cotton gin lint cleaner with saws and grid bars and minimized fiber damage to levels near those of fiber not subjected to any cleaning machine at all. This exploratory research shows that fiber quality can be maintained while reducing foreign matter to acceptable levels. A large scale, continuous process device based on this technique could help US cotton remain strong on the world market.
Technical Abstract: The pneumatic fractionator has long been used to determine foreign matter content of seed cotton at the USDA Cotton Ginning Laboratories. Spawned from discussions at a Cotton Incorporated Lint Cleaning Summit and building on 1970s research at the Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory, an experiment was designed and conducted to evaluate the pneumatic fractionator as a lint cleaning device. No modifications were made to the standard device, except that air pressure was set to 40 psi, instead of 70 psi. Seven lint cleaning treatments after normal saw ginning were used: no lint cleaning, one standard saw-type lint cleaner, and cleaning with the fractionator for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 seconds. Lint samples from each treatment were collected for USDA Classing Office classification, and AFIS, HVI, and MDTA3 fiber analyses at Cotton Incorporated. While maintaining fiber quality parameters such as length, short fiber content, and nep count at levels similar to those of no lint cleaning, the fractionator cleaned lint and produced color measurements similar to one saw-type lint cleaner.