Original scientific paper DOI: 10.17508/CJFST.2018.10.1.07
Properties influencing cracking and separation of palm nuts in a mechanical cracker cum separator
1Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, University of Ilorin, P. M. B. 1515, Ilorin, Nigeria
2Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Landmark University, P.M.B.1001, Omu – Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria
Received: April 18, 2017
Accepted: January 4, 2018
Experimental studies of some properties influencing cracking and separation of palm kernel from the shell was conducted in a palm kernel dual processing machine. A mechanical cracking cum separating machine was developed for the study. The cracking unit consists of feed hopper, impeller shaft, cracking drum and impeller blade. The nut falls by gravity through the hopper channel into the cracking drum where the cracking process takes place through the help of impeller blades that flip the palm nut against the walls of cylindrical cracking drum. The mass of cracked nut flows through the separating unit that separates the kernel from the shell. The separation is induced by high current of air mass generated by an axial fan. A dura palm variety was selected and a total sample of eighteen thousand (18000) palm nuts were obtained and divided into two groups (feed rates), A and B, of eight thousand and ten thousand palm nuts respectively. Sample groups A and B were further divided into five sub – groups of four hundred (400) and five hundred (500) palm kernel nuts. Each sub group (feed rate) was replicated four times at different shaft speeds (600, 900, 1200, 1500 and 1800 rpm). Results showed that cracking efficiencies increased with respect to speed. Un-cracked nuts percentage ranged from 1.3 to 5.3% at 7.1% moisture content, and 1.6 to 4.5% for 400 and 500 feed rates, respectively. Cracking time for both feed rates decreased with shaft speed. Throughput capacity of 11.49 kg/h was observed to be the lowest at 600 rpm and moisture content of 7.1% for both 400 feed rates and the highest throughput capacity of 37.16 kg/h was recorded at 1800 rpm at moisture contents of 9.3% and 16.1%. The results of this study shows that moisture content, engine speed and feed rate are significant parameters that influence cracking of nuts and separation of palm kernel from the shell.