Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE)


Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Document Type



Design and calibration of spreading equipment for agricultural materials are critically important but is facing some limitations in time and costs. Lack of personnel and environmental constraints, as well as equipment features present challenges in the calibration process and results. The major objective of this project was to introduce and investigate the feasibility of integration of automated electrical equipment into this calibration process in order to optimize the overall procedure in terms of cost, time and precision as an ultimate goal. Specific objectives focused on optical techniques as well as novel accelerometer technology. A photo based method in detection of collected grains based on counting of particles was investigated. Results from tests with three different grain particles showed that the sensor could be used in applications up to 20gr of collected materials in one pass. The sensor could detect multiple particles’ passage at the same time, but was unable to go further than a certain sample weight of 20, 30 and 60 grams for ammonium sulfate, rice and urea respectively while maintaining acceptable precision. In this regard, physical characteristics of the mentioned granular particles were also investigated to better address the importance of physical uniformity in this sensing system. A novel set of sensing plates based on accelerometer technology were introduced and the practicality of the sensors was tested using the standard setup for measurement of spreading patterns. A comparison between the outputs of a set of identical accelerometer plates showed a close estimate of the trend which could be achieved in the same deposition using the traditional dry calibration process. Moreover, the introduced sensor was highly flexible and could be adjusted in various ways in order to better match the application demands. In this regard, the proposed sensor was also tested at 10 and 20 degree angles with respect to the horizon and the results indicated almost twofold improvement in resolution from 595mV/g to 955mV/g at 10 and 20 degrees respectively. This novel accelerometer based technique may be practical for improved automation of calibration techniques.



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Committee Chair

Hall, Steven



Included in

Engineering Commons