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Research Project: Postharvest Management Systems for Processing and Handling Peanuts

Location: National Peanut Research Laboratory

Title: Drying peanuts in a modified hopper-bottom trailer: CFD modeling and design

item McIntyre, Joseph
item Butts, Christopher - Chris
item KIRK, KENDALL - Clemson University
item FOGLE, BENJAMIN - Clemson University
item TURNER, AARON - Clemson University
item TEDDY, BRENNAN - Clemson University

Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Computer software to simulate airflow in confined spaces was used to design modifications to hopper-bottom trailers so that peanuts could be dried prior to marketing. The software showed researchers where areas of extremely high or extremely low air velocity in the peanuts were and allowed researchers to modify the designs to eliminate the extremes in airflow. This paper describes the iterative design process and the effects of the incremental changes in the design on airflow distribution in the trailer. Based on the final design, a trailer was modified for performance testing during the 2020 peanut harvest. Deviations from the design due to physical limitations of the trailer were incorporated into the model to determine the effects of those deviations. The performance during peanut drying tests are documented in a separate paper, ASABE Paper No. 2100663.

Technical Abstract: Hopper-bottom trailers retrofitted for peanut drying may improve logistical efficiency during the hectic peanut harvest. Producers who transport grain on hopper-bottom trailers would have an additional use for the trailer and reduce the likelihood of harvest delays when trailer availability from the buying point is limited. Peanut buying points would be able to transition to the use of large semi-drying trailers without the significant investment in a truck dump. CFD modeling was used to develop retrofit design modifications for a typical hopper-bottom trailer that will produce uniform drying. Parameters for CFD modeling such as product permeability, boundary and initial conditions are described. Airflow patterns in the plenum and through the peanut mass were the primary simulation variables of concern when evaluating the various designs. Initial design concepts were simulated, and the effect of incremental design changes were noted in the simulated air distribution. As fabrication of the design was completed and on-site modifications were made, the model was updated to determine the effect on air distribution. Performance of the prototype dryer is described in ASABE Paper 2100663.