Performance Evaluation of a Kenaf Decorticator
Keywords:Kenaf, decortication, maturity, stem-size, machine speed, performance.
AbstractThe performance evaluation of an existing kenaf decorticator was carried out in this study. A field was planted with kenaf at the Teaching and Research Farm (T&RF) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. The field was maintained and monitored until the kenaf was 10 weeks old when the evaluation of the machine commenced. The kenaf decorticator was evaluated using different operation parameters, which include plant age (10, 11 and 12 weeks after planting), kenaf stem size (small, medium and large) and decorticator speeds (520, 600 and 680 rpm) giving rise to a 3 by 3 factorial experiment. The result showed that the highest mean of throughput value generated was 614.70 kg/h when the machine was operated at 600 rpm using large kenaf size harvested at 12 weeks after planting. The percentage of kenaf fibre trapped in the machine decreased from 24 to 13% as the speed decreased from 600 to 520 rpm and percentage waste collected decreased from 54 to 32. The percentage of fibre decorticated also increased from 31 to 49% as the speed decreased to 520 rpm.. The kenaf extraction efficiency increased from 74 to 91% as the speed deceased to 520 rpm, kenaf size was large and at 12 weeks after planting. The study concluded that the optimal operational parameters of the machine were 520 rpm with large kenaf size and 12 week of kenaf maturity.
VI-Postharvest Technology and Process Engineering