Knife mill operating factors effect on switchgrass particle size distributions.


Biomass particle size impacts handling, storage, conversion, and dust control systems. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) particle size distributions created by a knife mill were determined for integral classifying screen sizes from 12.7 to 50.8 mm, operating speeds from 250 to 500 rpm, and mass input rates from 2 to 11 kg/min. Particle distributions were classified with standardized sieves for forage analysis that included horizontal sieving motion with machined-aluminum sieves of thickness proportional to sieve opening dimensions. Then, a wide range of analytical descriptors were examined to mathematically represent the range of particle sizes in the distributions. Correlation coefficient of geometric mean length with knife mill screen size, feed rate, and speed were 0.872, 0.349, and 0.037, respectively. Hence, knife mill screen size largely determined particle size of switchgrass chop. Feed rate had an unexpected influence on particle size, though to a lesser degree than screen size. The Rosin-Rammler function fit the chopped switchgrass size distribution data with an R(2)>0.982. Mass relative span was greater than 1, which indicated a wide distribution of particle sizes. Uniformity coefficient was more than 4.0, which indicated a large assortment of particles and also represented a well-graded particle size distribution. Knife mill chopping of switchgrass produced 'strongly fine skewed mesokurtic' particles with 12.7-25.4 mm screens and 'fine skewed mesokurtic' particles with 50.8 mm screen. Results of this extensive analysis of particle sizes can be applied to selection of knife mill operating parameters to produce a particular size of switchgrass chop, and will serve as a guide for relations among the various analytic descriptors of biomass particle distributions.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2009.02.072

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@article{Bitra2009KnifeMO, title={Knife mill operating factors effect on switchgrass particle size distributions.}, author={Venkata S.P. Bitra and Alvin R. Womac and Yuechuan Yang and C. Igathinathane and Petre I. Miu and Nehru Chevanan and Shahab Sokhansanj}, journal={Bioresource technology}, year={2009}, volume={100 21}, pages={5176-88} }