Location: Cotton Ginning ResearchTitle: Evaluating a device for pneumatic lint cleaning Author
Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/6/2014
Publication Date: 4/1/2014
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Armijo, C.B., Hughs, S.E. 2014. Evaluating a device for pneumatic lint cleaning. Proceedings of the National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 6-8, 2014, New Orleans, LA. p. 550-556. Interpretive Summary: Concern about the amount of short fibers and fiber entanglements in US cotton has prompted efforts to reduce damage to cotton fibers during processing. At the cotton gin, foreign matter extraction is accomplished mainly with the use of cleaners with grid bars and saws that are efficient at removing foreign material, but reduce fiber length and tend to tangle fibers. Research exploring innovative techniques to clean ginned lint while reducing fiber damage has led to evaluations of a devise that utilizes air to tumble the fiber and scrub it against slotted openings to remove foreign matter. Previous testing showed that the device removed the foreign matter about as well as the standard cotton gin lint cleaner with saws and grid bars, but caused much less damage. Subsequent testing was less conclusive. However, some interesting questions were raised about different cotton varieties’ resistance to damage and how cotton characteristics that are undetectable in raw cotton might affect processing at the mill. Successful techniques that clean cotton with reduced damage will ultimately help US cotton to remain strong on the world market.
Technical Abstract: Research exploring innovative techniques to clean ginned lint while reducing short fiber and neps has led to evaluations of a pneumatic fractionator. This device is typically used to determine foreign matter content of seed cotton at the USDA cotton ginning research laboratories. No modifications were made to the device, but the operational parameters of pneumatic air pressure and processing time were varied from 40 to 70 psi and 10 to 75 s, respectively. The overall results were not conclusive. The fractionator cleaned ginned lint about as well as a typical saw-type lint cleaner, but no differences in measures of fiber damage – such as fiber length, short fiber content, and nep count – between the fractionator and saw-type lint cleaner were detected. Compared to the saw-type lint cleaner, the fractionator did remove less fiber with the foreign matter during cleaning and that fiber was shorter. The results brought to the forefront questions about 1) the effects of cultivar physical properties on susceptibility to fiber damage during ginning, and 2) the effects of undetectable differences in raw fiber quality parameters on spinning performance. Answering these questions will require further investigation.