Predicting grain dryer performance and throughput have traditionally been based on experimental tests of drying systems, basic Excel models derived from experimental tests and rules of thumb based on correlations developed over 50 years ago. Although theoretical models from predicting grain drying have been developed, none have brought all the drying phenomena together in a single, easy to use computer program. The ideal grain dryer is able to provide high corn drying throughput, maintain uniform and high quality grain, use minimal energy resources and operate in a reliable manner with minimal downtime.
South Dakota State University researchers have developed a software application with significant potential for grain dryer manufactures and installers. A computer application written in MATLAB that enables the user to predict the drying performance of a grain dryer for a variety of incoming corn moistures and dryer operating conditions. A graphical user interface allows the user to easily specify the relevant test parameters and the programs solves systems of numerically-based algorithms based upon the input and coupled partial differential equations representing the conversation of mass, energy and moisture release rates. Outputs are a series of graphical plots and predicted performance conditions including air temperature, grain temperature and grain moisture content within the drying column. Additional outputs are predicted drying time, dryer throughput and energy requirements necessary to dry the grain.
The software application can be a useful tool for grain drying design which can guide the manufacturers and construction companies in capacity, operating and performance expectations of a particular grain dryer configuration. The practical applications of this invention include having additional insight for fine-tuning a grain drying system to improve corn drying throughput while reducing energy requirements and maintaining uniform grain quality.