ISSN 0003 701X, Applied Solar Energy, 2011, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 59–62. © Allerton Press, Inc., 2011.

Original Russian Text © R.Kh. Rakhimov, V.P. Ermakov, M.R. Rakhimov, 2011, published in Geliotekhnika, 2011, No. 1, pp. 68–73.


Specifics of Drying Raw Cotton Using Functional Ceramics Synthesized in Large Solar Oven
R. Kh. Rakhimov, V. P. Ermakov, and M. R. Rakhimov
Institute of Materials Science, “Fizika–Solntse” Association, Uzbek Academy of Sciences, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Received August 25, 2010

Abstract—The effective drying of raw cotton using functional ceramics synthesized in a large solar furnace was developed (city of Parkent). Two kinds of ceramics are used to achieve the established goal. One of these methods ensures the high quality, effective drying of raw cotton, while the other is used to prevent the forma tion of peroxile radicals from cotton oil in cotton plant seeds. According to provisional results, the total power costs of using IR drying with functional ceramics are nine to ten times lower than in traditional drying, whereas energy costs are more than two to three times lower. Taking into account the relatively low power costs, the considered solution allows one to obtain finished products with no more than 6–7% residual mois ture, which makes them better preserved and decreases the risk of self inflammation. DOI: 10.3103/S0003701X11010117

So far, agricultural products have been processed using energy consuming and expensive solutions that increase the cost of the product and very often decrease its quality. Raw cotton, for example, is traditionally dried convectively when the air is heated by burning liq uid fuels. The substantial drawbacks to this technology are the high cost of fuel, environmental harmfulness, and low efficiency of the process. In addition, a rela tively large amount of energy is needed to transport raw materials in the course of their drying. Raw cotton has traditionally been transported through pipelines with the screw as the active element. Not only does this gen erate high friction between the material and the con tacting parts and walls of the pipe, but it also leads to a sharp increase in power consumption to overcome the resistance and degrades the quality of the target prod uct, since the fiber is crumpled, the seeds get damaged, etc. Moreover, it is difficult to ensure the low humidity of finished products, which stimulates the propagation of bacteria, sharply degrading the quality of raw cotton during storage; furthermore, the material can also catch fire due to self heating. The authors of this article have developed special ized functional ceramics that reduce the duration of drying and greatly improve its efficiency, as well as to ensures high quality target output [1]. It is generally considered that the best drying occurs when most radi ation is absorbed by water and the basic material absorbs almost none. For fine object layers, it is vital to prevent their overheating and keep their basic charac teristics intact. By considering drying in more detail and taking into account its separate stages, the conclusion can be drawn that the diffusion of the solvent from the inter nal layers of the dried product is weakly displayed in

the fine layers, but becomes of the highest importance for the thick layers, since it is the slowest stage in the entire process and determines the total drying speed. It is implied that the vacuum drying helps to accelerate diffusion; however, it requires far more complex and expensive equipment to be used. Based on this, it seems reasonable to resolve this issue using highly dense pulses at low average power in IR range. It can be presumed that, when radiation decreases to a certain level at power P, because it is absorbed by the product, its penetration will be, e.g., 2 mm. If the supplied impulse is 100 times denser than the average intensity, radiation penetration will increase by exactly the same amount to obtain a power density in the product at the same level of extinction. The average radiation intensity shall be maintained so that the product does not become spoiled due to overheating. In this case, no power must be fed to the dried matter for about 100 pulse lengths. This pulse system has yet another advantage, since it allows one to substantially increase the average power as the energy distributes, not only along the surface of the target product, but also over its volume. Moreover, since the solvent from internal layers starts to diffuse far more intensively, it captures excessive power and the product cools down. If pulselike character is maintained, the optimum IR radiation length is chosen, and the gas dynamics is properly calculated, the product temperature may be equal to the ambient level. According to the research, the product temperature in dryers with specialized functional ceramics is 17–19°C, while the ambient temperature can be 30–38°C depending on the gen eral room ventilation and air humidity [1]. Taking into account the aforementioned factors, specialized ceramic materials were developed, as well as the tech



4 3 2 1(b) 1(a)

Fig. 1. General view of laboratory raw cotton dryer filled with cotton seeds or raw cotton. (1) IR emitters (a) ceramics for improv ing the efficiency of drying the target material, (b) ceramics for preventing the formation of peroxyl radicals in cotton seeds); (2) reflectors; (3) net tray; (4) dried object.

nology for their production in a large solar furnace. These materials convert primary source continuous radiation into impulse radiation of the distant IR range, since, in the latter, water intensively absorbs radiation power. In the continuous mode, radiation is mostly absorbed only by the upper product layer. Therefore, microorganisms living in the product may survive in deeper layers without any damage and sterility will be very low. If discrete transducer converters are used, IR pulses penetrate into deeper layers and, therefore, exterminate local microorganisms. The finished prod uct becomes fairly sterile [1]. An essentially new method of sterilization has been developed for drying with functional ceramics. The technique is based on the following. Any organism, be it bacteria, fungus, a virus, etc., propagates by copying DNA or RNA, which includes synthesis achieved by certain enzymes. For example, it may be telomerase. Hepatitis A has RNA polymerase, hepatitis B has DNA polymerase, oncogenic viruses or HIV has reverse transcriptase, etc. DNA or RNA chains grow during copying, which is expressed in the formation of a ferment substrate complex that manifests during growth as an ever expanding radical. Lipins and super oxides are processed by impulse ceramics into assisting radicals made to recombine with growing radicals (fer ment substrate complexes) by the second impulse. Stable molecules unable to grow further are therefore generated and stay on the level of protein that can be used by plants and animals as a source of energy or a plastic material to meet their needs. The entire infec tion is therefore fully exterminated [1–4]. At first sight, it may seem that more powerful impulses guarantee better and more efficient drying. However, the reality is very different. According to the experiments, if powerful impulses are used, the water in the product cells quickly turns into steam and is expelled. Therefore, the quality of the target product degrades. Full sterility is still observed; however, because microorganisms also have water that destroys them when turned into steam.

A second reason is that, if the impulses are too pow erful, a large part of the energy penetrates so deep that it reaches a product free area and the system becomes less efficient. In the above considered case, when the pulse is 100 times stronger than the average power, the pene tration will also be 100 times stronger while the level of illumination remains unchanged. Let us suppose that, if the effective penetration depth of IR radiation without any impulses is 5 mm (and sufficient water loss is observed in the monitored area), it will be 500 mm in the impulse mode. The thickness of the product is 60– 120 mm. When the dried object is exposed both, from above and below, the pulse strength for such thickness must be increased by (30–60) : 2 = (15–30) times. Apart from basic ceramics intended to effectively convert the spectrum of a primary source into the best IR range with identical temporal characteristics another kind of functional ceramics is used generated paired impulses in a certain IR range [1]. It is intended to prevent the formation of peroxile radicals in cotton seeds. The transducer action mechanism is intended to neutralize active radicals generated during peroxyl oxidizing of cotton lipins. Two sequential impulses are emitted. The estimated energy density is 320 W/cm2, and the duration of the first pulse is 10 μs. The first impulse generates short moving radicals from lipins or ionized water, whereas the second impulse causes the generated radicals to recombine with peroxyl radicals and, therefore, normalizes the level of free radicals. Ceramic materials of the estimated composition were synthesized by melting in a large solar oven as specified in [5]. The resulting product was turned into powder with grains of 1–10 μm and, using a binding additive, applied to the surfaces of quartz tubes con taining nickel chromium spirals. The ceramic layer was ~20–40 μm thick. Figure 1 shows a picture of a raw cotton dryer filled with cotton seeds or raw cotton. The material was placed on a net tray so that the target product could be processed by IR converters located on both sides. In Table 1, the results of the IR drying of original raw cotton (with seeds) with a

SPECIFICS OF DRYING RAW COTTON USING FUNCTIONAL CERAMICS Residual mass, % 100 98 96 94 92 90 88 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Time, min Residual mass, % 100 98 96 94 92 90 88 0 2 4 6 8 10 12


14 16 Time, min

Fig. 2. Drying of cotton seeds with initial humidity of 8.70%.

Fig. 3. Drying of grade 4 cotton seeds with initial humidity of 13%.

humidity of 12% are given. According to the cited data, 1–2 min are sufficient to achieve the optimum humid ity in raw cotton for further processing. Figures 2–4 and Tables 2–4 show the results of drying cotton seeds with functional ceramics. The given data allow one to con clude that the drying speed is very high and the dried seeds appeared to have better quality than traditionally processed materials. The research was carried out by experts at Fargonapakhtasanoat.
Table 1. Drying raw cotton with a humidity of 12% Time, min Residual mass, % Humidity, % 1 98.2 10.2 2 96.7 8.7

Figure 4 and Table 4 contain data on drying raw cotton of grades 1 and 5. According to this informa tion, grade 5 raw cotton is dried somewhat faster than grade 1 raw cotton, which is most like due to the large number of damages, which facilitates the faster elimi nation of moisture through the damaged areas. Table 5 shows the economic characteristics of drying 1 t of raw cotton traditionally and using IR radiation with humidity decreased by 1–3%.

4 95.7 7.7

6 95.1 7.1

8 94.5 6.5

10 93.9 5.9

Table 2. Drying of cotton seeds with initial humidity of 8.70% Time, min Residual mass, % 0 100 2 98.2 4 96.6 6 95.3 8 94.2 10 93.4 12 92.8 14 92.6 16 92.4

Table 3. Drying of grade 4 cotton seeds with initial humidity of 13% Time, min Residual mass, % 0 100 2 96.7 4 94.9 6 93.2 8 91.8 10 90.6 12 89.9 14 89.5 16 89.1

Table 4. Drying of raw cotton of grades 1 and 5 Time, min Grade 1. Residual mass, % Grade 5. Residual mass, %

0 100 100
Vol. 47

2 96.7 97.1
No. 1 2011

4 95.7 95.1

6 95.1 94.5

8 94.5 93.2

10 93.9 92.6

12 93.6 91.4

14 92.9 91.1



Table 5. Economic estimations of drying 1 t of raw cotton traditionally and using IR radiation with humidity decreased 1–3% Method of drying Traditional IR radiation Liquid fuel consumption, kg 14.3 – Cost, sums 7507.5 – Power consumption, kW 39.7 16.7 Cost, sums 2544 1068.8 Total, sums 10051.5 1068.8

According to the data, drying with functional ceramics is 9.4 times more energy efficient than the conventional method. It should be emphasized that not can only the former method proceed without liq uid fuel, but it also consumes far less energy (more than 2.5 times). There are currently two fiber separators installed at each ginnery in Uzbekistan, i.e., either DP 130 or DPZ 180, the shift production capacity of which var ies from 70 to 90 t depending on the grade of raw cot ton. According to the estimates (Table 5), the humid ity of raw cotton will decrease by 1–3% if the conveyor belt moves at 2 m/min. To guarantee the fail safe oper ation of cotton gins, the width of the conveyor belt must be no less than 100 cm and the length must be at least 10–12 m. Depending on the humidity of raw cot ton, the IR radiation intensity and the length, width, or speed of the belt may be changed if necessary. To develop a conveyor belt with a highly effective and optimum design using functional ceramics, the following source data must be considered: ⎯planned output regarding cotton seeds or raw cotton; ⎯width of the conveyor belt; ⎯product dispatch weight per square unit (at differ ent stages of drying) depending on the form of the object; ⎯local conditions for installing equipment that significantly influence the gas dynamics of the com plex;
Residual mass, % 100 98 96 94 92 90 88 0 2 4 6 8 grade 5 10 grade 1 12 14 Time, min

⎯optimum distribution of emitters and their capacity inside the equipment depending on the stage currently in process and many other accompanying specific influences that may also be taken into account; ⎯developments of ceramic materials with opti mum modifications intended for the best drying of raw cotton and cotton seeds; ⎯full scale calculations of process thermodynam ics for particular conditions; ⎯the optimization of gas dynamics systems for retracting generated steam; The given results allow one to conclude that the presented solution is one of the best and most efficient of its kind. CONCLUSIONS The use of functional ceramics in cotton dryers enables the following: ⎯use over than 2.3 times less energy; ⎯exclude burning liquid fuels; ⎯lower the total power consumption by more than 9.40 times; ⎯make drying substantially easier; ⎯make the equipment more reliable and far less demanding of materials; ⎯ensure efficient drying with the lowest humidity rate to prevent the propagation of microorganisms and self inflammation of cotton during storage; ⎯apply the synchronous deep sterilization of final products during drying. REFERENCES
1., 2. Rakhimov, R.Kh. and Saidov, M.S., Ceramics with Energy Barrier and Double–Pulse Temperature Radia tion, Geliotekhn., 2002, no. 3, pp. 71–74. 3. Rakhimov, R.Kh. and Saidov, M.S., Trudy III nat sional’noi konf. “Rost, svoistva i primenenie kristallov” (Proc. III National Conf. “Growth, Properties and Application of Crystals”), Tashkent, Oct. 22–23 2002, pp. 131–132. 4. Rakhimov, R.K. and Kim, E.V., USA Patent no. 5350927, 1994. 5. Rakhimov, R.K. and Kim, E.V., USA Patent no. 5472720, 1995.

Fig. 4. Drying of cotton of grades 1 and 5.

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