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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353611

Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: Using laser diffraction to measure agricultural sprays: Common sources of error when making measurements

Author
item HOFFMANN, WESLEY - Retired ARS Employee
item Fritz, Bradley - Brad

Submitted to: International Journal of Precision Agricultural Aviation (IJPAA)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2018
Publication Date: 12/30/2018
Citation: Hoffmann, W.C., Fritz, B.K. 2018. Using laser diffraction to measure agricultural sprays: Common sources of error when making measurements. International Journal of Precision Agricultural Aviation (IJPAA). 1(1):15-18. https://doi.org/10.33440/j.ijpaa.20180101.0005.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.33440/j.ijpaa.20180101.0005

Interpretive Summary: In an agricultural setting, laser diffraction is a technique used to measure the size of particles, such as spray droplets or soil particles, allowing users to determine proper equipment selection, setup and operation needed to create a desired droplet size to maximize the effectiveness of agrochemicals with minimum negative impact on the surrounding environment. However, the measurement systems and methods used to evaluate spray technologies have the potential to heavily influence and bias the measured results. This work provides practical guidance to new users of laser diffraction measurement systems, highlighting and discussing key issues to consider when making laser diffraction measurements, including proper setup and alignment of the laser, obscuration effects, background light scattering and other potential sources of error, all of which are key to accurate and repeatable results.

Technical Abstract: In an agricultural setting, laser diffraction is a technique used to measure the size of particles, such as spray droplets or soil particles. Measurement of spray droplets allow users to create a desired droplet size through selection of spray nozzles, operating pressures, and adjuvants to maximize effectiveness of agrochemicals with minimum negative impact on the surrounding environment. The objective of this work is to provide practical guidance to new users of laser diffraction based on years of experience by the authors. The goal will be to highlight and discuss key issues to consider when making laser diffraction measurements, including proper setup and alignment of the laser, obscuration effects, background light scattering and other potential sources of error.