Studies on Ground Corn Flowability as Affected by Particle Size and Moisture Content

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Jadhav, H.
Ozoh, Chinwendu
Marripudi, Sai
Cao, Xiong
Rosentrater, K.
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Rosentrater, Kurt
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Corn is the primary feed grain in the U.S., and it accounts for more than 90 percent of total feed grain production and use. Besides this, corn is the primary input for the U.S. ethanol industry. This results in tremendous infrastructure for handling and storage of corn and byproducts throughout the year. The flow properties of ground corn, which is a principal ingredient of animal feed, are very complex in nature. Many physical and chemical properties viz. angle of repose, bulk density, moisture of the product, protein content in the surface layer, etc. affects the flow properties of corn and its products. Flow through a hopper is a typical example of complex flow. Bridging or caking of feed material in feed hoppers are common problems, and many times blocks the flow completely leaving animals without feed. Daily changes in temperature and relative humidity affect the equilibrium moisture content of feed. Size of corn particles affect angle of repose, bulk density and cohesive forces between particles, and thus flow characteristics of the feed. In this study, flow characteristics of ground corn were examined as functions of particle size and moisture content. Feed utilization was historically maximum (i.e. minimum ratio of feed consumption to weight gain), when mean particle size diameter is about 822 microns for roller milled corn flour. In recent times, livestock producers have found that feed efficiency can increase as particle size decreases. Furthermore, excess moisture makes flour sticky and hampers free sliding of particles over each other during flow. Keeping this in view, different combinations of particle sizes and product moisture content were studied with the objectives of understanding and enhancing corn flour flowability.


This proceeding is from 2017 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Paper No. 1701175, pages 1-9 (doi: 10.13031/aim.201701175). St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017