Quality changes, dust generation, and commingling during grain elevator handling

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dc.contributor.author Boac, Josephine Mina
dc.date.accessioned 2010-01-08T21:28:26Z
dc.date.available 2010-01-08T21:28:26Z
dc.date.issued 2010-01-08T21:28:26Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/2373
dc.description.abstract The United States grain handling infrastructure is facing major challenges to meet worldwide customer demands for wholesome, quality, and safe grains and oilseeds for food and feed. Several challenges are maintaining grain quality during handling; reducing dust emissions for safety and health issues; growing shift from commodity-based to specialty (trait-specific) markets; proliferation of genetically modified crops for food, feed, fuel, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses; and threats from biological and chemical attacks. This study was conducted to characterize the quality of grain and feed during bucket elevator handling to meet customer demand for high quality and safe products. Specific objectives were to (1) determine the effect of repeated handling on the quality of feed pellets and corn; (2) characterize the dust generated during corn and wheat handling; (3) develop and evaluate particle models for simulating the flow of grain during elevator handling; and (4) accurately simulate grain commingling in elevator boots with discrete element method (DEM). Experiments were conducted at the research elevator of the USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research (CGAHR) to determine the effect of repeated handling on the quality of corn-based feed pellets and corn. Repeated handling did not significantly influence the durability indices of feed pellets and corn. The feed pellets, however, had significantly greater breakage (3.83% per transfer) than the corn (0.382% per transfer). The mass of particulate matter < 125 μm was less for feed pellets than for corn. These corn-based feed pellets can be an alternative to corn in view of their handling characteristics. Another series of experiments was conducted in the same elevator to characterize the dust generated during corn and wheat handling. Dust samples were collected from the lower and upper ducts upstream of the cyclones in the elevator. Handling corn produced more than twice as much total dust than handling wheat (185 g/t vs. 64.6 g/t). Analysis of dust samples with a laser diffraction analyzer showed that the corn samples produced smaller dust particles, and a greater proportion of small particles, than the wheat samples. Published data on material and interaction properties of selected grains and oilseeds that are relevant to DEM modeling were reviewed. Using these material and interaction properties and soybeans as the test material, the DEM fundamentals were validated by modeling the flow of soybean during handling with a commercial software package (EDEM). Soybean kernels were simulated with single- and multi-sphere particle shapes. A single-sphere particle model best simulated soybean kernels in the bulk property tests. The best particle model had a particle coefficient of restitution of 0.6; particle static friction of 0.45 for soybean-soybean contact (0.30 for soybean-steel interaction); particle rolling friction of 0.05; normal particle size distribution with standard deviation factor of 0.4; and particle shear modulus of 1.04 MPa. The single-sphere particle model for soybeans was implemented in EDEM to simulate grain commingling in a pilot-scale bucket elevator boot using 3D and quasi-2D models. Pilot-scale boot experiments of soybean commingling were performed to validate these models. Commingling was initially simulated with a full 3D model. Of the four quasi-2D boot models with reduced control volumes (4d, 5d, 6d, and 7d; i.e., control volume widths from 4 to 7 times the mean particle diameter) considered, the quasi-2D (6d) model predictions best matched those of the initial 3D model. Introduction of realistic vibration motion during the onset of clear soybeans improved the prediction capability of the quasi-2D (6d) model. The physics of the model was refined by accounting for the initial surge of particles and reducing the gap between the bucket cups and the boot wall. Inclusion of the particle surge flow and reduced gap gave the best predictions of commingling of all the tested models. This study showed that grain commingling in a bucket elevator boot system can be simulated in 3D and quasi-2D DEM models and gave results that generally agreed with experimental data. The quasi-2D (6d) models reduced simulation run time by 29% compared to the 3D model. Results of this study will be used to accurately predict impurity levels and improve grain handling, which can help farmers and grain handlers reduce costs during transport and export of grains and make the U.S. grain more competitive in the world market. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship United States Department of Agriculture; Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Kansas State University en
dc.subject Repeated grain handling en_US
dc.subject Dust generation en_US
dc.subject Grain commingling en_US
dc.subject Discrete element method en_US
dc.subject Bucket elevator en_US
dc.title Quality changes, dust generation, and commingling during grain elevator handling en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.description.degree Doctor of Philosophy en_US
dc.description.level Doctoral en_US
dc.description.department Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering en_US
dc.description.advisor Mark E. Casada en_US
dc.description.advisor Ronaldo G. Maghirang en_US
dc.subject.umi Engineering, Agricultural (0539) en_US
dc.date.published 2010 en_US
dc.date.graduationmonth May en_US

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