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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SENSING MOISTURE CONTENT AND QUALITY OF GRAIN AND OTHER AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS BY DIELECTRIC PROPERTIES

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: Dielectric-based method for determining moisture content and bulk density of peanut-hull pellets

Authors
item TRABELSI, SAMIR
item Paz, Ana Marta -
item Nelson, Stuart

Submitted to: Microwave International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 6, 2010
Publication Date: July 15, 2010
Citation: Trabelsi, S., Nelson, S.O. 2010. Dielectric-based method for determining moisture content and bulk density of peanut-hull pellets. 44th Annual Microwave International Conference Proceedings; Denver, Colorado; July 14-16, 2010, pp. 190-195.

Interpretive Summary: Dielectric properties are electrical properties that determine how materials interact with electric fields such as those of high-frequency and microwave electromagnetic energy. Therefore, the dielectric properties of materials determine how rapidly they will heat in microwave ovens and lower radio-frequency dielectric heating equipment. Dielectric properties are also important in low power applications, such as the rapid measurement of moisture content in grain and other commodities. Biofuels are an attractive alternative source of energy to fossil fuels. Moisture content of solid biofuels is an important factor in pricing, conditioning for combustion, and storage management. This paper discusses the measurement of dielectric properties at microwave frequencies between 5 and 15 GHz for pelleted peanut hulls prepared as a biofuel. The moisture contents of the peanut-hull pellets were adjusted to various levels and their dielectric properties were measured from 4% to 13% moisture, as determined by standard methods, over ranges of bulk density and temperature. Analysis of the variations of the dielectric properties of the peanut-hull pellets with moisture content, bulk density, and temperature revealed that the dielectric properties can be used for microwave sensing of moisture content in peanut-hull pellets with accuracies of less than 0.5% moisture content. Simultaneously, bulk densities of peanut-hull pellets were determined from the microwave measurements with accuracies of about 3 percent. The new data on peanut-hull pellets are of interest to engineers and scientists working on biofuels applications. The microwave measurement method, based on dielectric properties sensing, offers promise for the monitoring of moisture and bulk density in biofuels processing and utilization and can improve the energy efficiency in such applications.

Technical Abstract: A dielectric-based method was used to determine nondestructively and instantaneously moisture content and bulk density of peanut-hull pellets from free-space measurement of their dielectric properties at microwave frequencies. Results of measurement along with standard errors of calibration are shown at 5 GHz, 10 GHz, and 15 GHz and 22 oC.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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