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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362066

Research Project: Enhancing the Quality, Utility, Sustainability and Environmental Impact of Western and Long-Staple Cotton through Improvements in Harvesting, Processing, and Utilization

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: Thermal contact, a passive approach to plastic removal from seed cotton

item Funk, Paul
item Armijo, Carlos
item Whitelock, Derek
item Delhom, Christopher - Chris
item Holt, Gregory
item Wanjura, John
item Pelletier, Mathew

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2019
Publication Date: 7/9/2019
Citation: Funk, P.A., Armijo, C.B., Whitelock, D.P., Delhom, C.D., Holt, G.A., Wanjura, J.D., Pelletier, M.G. 2019. Thermal contact, a passive approach to plastic removal from seed cotton [abstract]. ASABE Annual International Meeting, July 7-10, 2019, Boston, MA. Paper 1901898.

Interpretive Summary: The premium that U.S. cotton growers have enjoyed for many years has recently eroded as rising levels of contamination have damaged foreign textile buyers trust in the purity of U.S. cotton. Multiple approaches to detecting contaminating plastic material in seed cotton are being investigated to protect the value of U.S. cotton exports. This particular approach dispenses with detection, using a passive mechanism that can automatically remove plastic from unprocessed seed cotton before ginning and lint fiber after ginning. The theory is that simplicity will increase reliability and decrease cost, improving the chances for this technology's implementation in cotton gins.

Technical Abstract: The cotton ginning and textile industries have experienced increasing levels of plastic contamination from shopping bags, agricultural mulch, and round module wrap. Multiple approaches are being investigated and implemented to remove plastic at different stages of processing in an attempt to preserve the purity and value of natural fiber. The authors propose an approach where seed cotton is contacted by a plurality of heated metal surfaces. The intent is to melt contaminating pieces of plastic film enough to cause them to adhere to the metal surfaces, resulting in separation. This paper reports preliminary results from trials conducted using an apparatus constructed at the USDA-ARS SW Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory.