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Analysis of Corn Dust Particle Properties and How Surface Roughness Influences Adhesion

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 63(5): 1493-1497. (doi: 10.13031/trans.13892) @2020
Authors:   Benjamin M. Plumier, Yumeng Zhao, Mark E. Casada, Ronaldo G. Maghirang, R. P. Kingsly Ambrose
Keywords:   Dust adhesion, Particle shape, Surface adhesion, Surface roughness.


Freshly harvested, higher quality corn samples have a higher proportion of small dust particles with a lower circularity and aspect ratio compared to older, lower quality samples.

For freshly harvested grain, dust particles removed at low centrifuge speed were significantly rougher than particles removed at high speed.

Lower quality corn did not show a significant decrease in particle roughness for strongly attached dust.

The surface area decreased while the surface energy increased with the attachment strength of dust particles.

Abstract. High dust concentrations associated with grain handling can cause serious problems, including health and safety risks from dust inhalation and increased risk of explosions due to contained suspended dust in the presence of an ignition source. The amount of dust generated during grain handling is influenced by several factors, including the adhesion strength of dust to the grain. One factor that could influence the adhesion strength of grain dusts is how the dust particles are shaped and how their shape relates to the surface texture of corn. To better understand the properties of dust particles separated from corn samples, dust samples were analyzed for morphology and particle size. In addition, dust samples were separated with different centrifugation speeds to compare the properties of dusts that were strongly or weakly attached to the grain. These samples were observed with a light profilometer to measure their surface roughness characteristics. Results showed that freshly harvested corn samples contained a higher presence of small particles with low circularity than older, lower quality samples. The large particles observed were determined to be starch, as opposed to the smaller particles that were more likely soil or other non-plant-based material. The dust particles that were more strongly attached to corn kernels tended to have lower surface roughness than those that were weakly attached for the freshly harvested grain.

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