Subcategory: Physics (not Nanoscience)
Teriana Jaslin Pride - Howard University
Co-Author(s): Maka Michele, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon, Africa
The production of powder from dry plant materials will always be an important economic activity. As such, the continuous development and refinement of comminution technologies remains a pertinent issue. Physical properties such as moisture content, particle size and shape, fibre content, oil content, resin or gum content, bulk density, hardness and how they each affect the comminution performance of a plant material working with a local grinding mill will be investigated. The result of this research effort will be aimed at establishing the most appropriate comminution technology for the dry husk of Bauhinia purpurea and cocoa using a locally available grinding mill. It is predicted that the grinding efficiency of biomass products in a grinding mill will be improved by obtaining high level moisture contents. The production of powder from dry agricultural produce will always be an important post- harvest processing activity. Powder or flour from Bauhinia purpurea and cocoa is in high demand as food and as input in the local agro-process industry. Quite a good number of medicinal extracts and other useful chemical substances are normally obtained from the powder of dry vegetative materials. In other words, the continual development or refinement of efficient and economic systems for the pulverization of dry agricultural produce and/or vegetative materials remains a pertinent issue in Cameroon. In past years, comminution of dry products has become an important activity in the economy of developing countries such as Cameroon. The powder obtained could either be used as food, extracted for medicine or used as input for the local agro-process industry. We decided to focus on comminution of dry biomass products to find the productive uses of parts of commonly grown plants in the area that are usually thrown away. It is important to know how well to comminute them since these parts could serve for productive reasons.
Throughout our research, we performed a literature review on the process of the comminution of popular dry biomass products by reviewing previous studies. After doing so, we identified comminution performance parameters to study the effects different variables had on grinding trials. These parameters include moisture content, particle size and shape, fiber content, oil content, resin or gum content, bulk density, and hardness. We studied various traditional drying processes to prepare the cocoa and Bauhinia purpurea for the comminution process. Later, we identified the properties of the motor used on the machine to measure the effects biomass products have on the efficiency of the motor. We then ground the product using the machine available and recorded mass, grinding efficiency, and moisture content. With the data collected, it is suggested that each biomass product has an ideal moisture content range that is to be discovered through drying and storing prior to the grinding process. This is contrary to the belief that the dryer the product, the more effective the machine will be in properly grinding a substance into a flourlike texture. Dryer biomass products are lighter than their counterparts and often fly out of the machine; therefore, the amount of product lost in trials increases and lost products are kept from being crushed down to an ideal size. In future research, it is suggested that moisture content ranges be discovered for each biomass product by testing various temperature and time variables in drying ovens.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The National Science Foundation is the founder of my research project.
Faculty Advisor: Wayne Patterson, email@example.com
Role: Throughout this research project, I was responsible for studying the make of various grinding mills used in Africa, reading documents written on comminution performance of various dry, biomass products, learning how to properly prepare plants for successful grinding trials, measuring how effectively grinding mills are capable of crushing products to an ideal size, and working to reduce the amount of biomass product lost in grinding.