Viscoelastic properties of seed cotton
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Seed cotton is commonly compressed following harvest for storage and transport, yet there is little published information on the compressive properties of seed cotton. Knowledge is needed of the relationships for seed cotton between the applied compressive force, deformation, and time to provide a basis for engineering systems that can maintain seed cotton quality during extended storage. Several factors were tested to determine their effects on the height and density of seed cotton during compression, creep loading, and recovery. The initial loading density did not affect the compressed density, but a slight effect, due to the additional weight of seed cotton, was observed in the recovered density. Picked cotton was compressed to a greater density than stripped cotton, but expanded more during recovery, resulting in similar final densities. Multiple compressions increased the density, but this increase was not physically significant after the third compression. Higher moisture content slightly increased the density to which seed cotton could be compressed. Viscoelastic behavior was observed; however, the effect on density was small. Study results showed that the mass being compressed is the critical factor affecting final compressed volume. These results point to the principles necessary for creating seed cotton storage modules better able to resist moisture penetration. Improved distribution of seed cotton mass within the module builder is necessary to produce a desirably shaped module. A greater mass of seed cotton is needed at the center of the module to produce a surface that slopes down towards the outer edges. © 2008 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
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