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Design and Performance Evaluation of a Solar Convection Dryer for Drying Tropical Fruit

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 29(3): 391-401. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Drew Frank Schiavone, Arthur A. Teixeira, Ray A. Bucklin, Steven A. Sargent
Keywords:   Solar dryer Convection dryer Mangoes Dried mangos Sorption isotherm Tropical fruit.

Abstract. This article describes the design, construction, and performance evaluation of a natural-convection, solar dryer capable of producing dried mango slices in rural Haitian communities. A sorption isotherm was developed for the Tommy Atkins mango variety to determine target levels of moisture content needed to achieve required levels of water activity. The solar dryer was constructed and operated in Gainesville, Florida, during the summer of 2011. Performance evaluation revealed cabinet temperatures between 37.0°C and 43.7°C during sunlight hours depending on airflow and loading conditions. Damper restriction was shown to effectively control flow rates to adjust temperatures within the dryer. Operating capacity of the dryer was 9.5 kg of fresh mango slices per 36 h, lowering the moisture content from 84.5% (w.b.) to 10.3% (w.b.) under a continuous mode of operation. The collector efficiency, pick-up efficiency, and system efficiency were 26.7%, 20.4%, and 25.9% respectively.

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