Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Civil/Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering
Jordan Ulibarri-Sanchez - New Mexico State University
Co-Author(s): Michelle Frybarger, Angelo Rivera, Warren McConnel, Salim Albadi, Sam Barraza, Abdulrahman Mejhim, Abdulaziz Alzaid (New Mexico State University, NM)
The goal of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Capstone projects? is to optimize the process of de-hulling cottonseeds. Specifically, this group’s focus was that to optimize the de-hulling machine that was in use at Hills Farms and has currently moved to a new location in Texas. This machine is being used for research in removing gossypol (poisonous after enough consumption) from the cotton seed but not from the hull. This would open up cotton seed being used as a source of protein for human and animal consumption, as it’s currently wasted in that respect now.
There are a few ways to optimize the cotton dehuller’s efficiency, including; how the raw material is fed into the beginning of the machine/process, automate the pieces that aren’t currently automated, redesign or change the roller/crusher process currently used to separate the seed from its hull, and design a better way to separate the product (seed) and byproduct (hull) after its initial separation. Our capstone group chose to further improve the separation of product and byproduct by creating an additional, separate, auxiliary component to the process that would focus solely on the after-separation process.
The auxiliary device’s design will be based off the difference in densities and surface areas of the cotton’s hull versus the cotton seed. With this in mind, the design will incorporate channeling the product (seed) and byproduct (hull) into a central vent/channel where a compressor or fan will be placed at the bottom of a vertical shaft blowing air upwards. With a well-placed screen within the vertical shaft to catch and channel the seed outside this auxiliary device and letting the hull blow upwards and out a different channel.
The use of finite element analysis for airflow within this device along with practical prototypes will help the group choose the best cross-sectional shape to maximize airflow rate with a lower powered fan/compressor, where a circular cross-section shows the best results so far.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): We would like to thank the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the 'Wheels of Change Grant' Award number 2015-38422-24112 for their support. We would also like to thank the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the 'I-DISCOVER Grant' Award number 2015-38422-24112 for their support.
Faculty Advisor: Young Ho Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I led the senior capstone group that worked on this project. My duties included managing the group as well as helping research and manufacturing our ideas.