Optimization of peanut drying, utilizing a microwave moisture meter in the implementation of a feedback controlled system
Lewis, Micah Anthony
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The peanut drying process requires close monitoring of atmospheric conditions and human interaction for periodic evaluation of moisture content. If these tasks are not performed appropriately, the peanuts are at risk of being underdried or overdried. For this reason, the feasibility of implementing a feedback controlled system to optimize and further automate the peanut drying process on a wagon scale model was investigated. The feedback controller controls the temperature of the air used for drying as well as the duration of drying as it processes inputs including inlet air temperature, ambient air temperature, relative humidity and kernel (shelled peanuts) moisture content. A microwave dielectric method was used for nondestructive and rapid determination of kernel moisture content in unshelled peanuts from measurements of their complex permittivities in free space independent of bulk density. Use of such a controller would reapportion labor at peanut buying points, minimize energy consumption, and aid in preserving the quality of the peanuts.
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