DEVELOPMENT OF EGUSI MELON DEPODER WITH SINOSIDALLY ARRANGED SPIKES

AUTHOR:  NDELEKWUTE, STANISLAUS CHINYEAKA (M.Eng)

DEPARTMENT: Agricultural Engineering

SCHOOL: School of Engineering and Engineering Technology

AFFILIATION: Federal University of Technology Owerri

An egusi melon depoder with sinosidally arranged spikes was developed and evaluated for performance. The major components of the machine are the frame, hopper,depodding chamber and discharge outlets. The design was based on the principle of impact force. The machine is powered by a 1.5kw, 1140 rpm single- phase electric motor. The machine was designed to have a maximum capacity of 27.2kg of melon per patch. All materials used for fabricating the machine components were sourced locally. Some engineering properties necessary for melon depodding such as the pod major, intermediate and minor diameters; the pod weight, the pod volume, the pod unit density, impact velocity and impact energy were all determined and their values are 10.94cm±1.77cm,11.50cm±1.74cm,11.44cm±1.98cm, 555.83g±283.26g, 891.62cm3±457.65cm3, 0.63g/cm3±0.014g/cm3, 2.36m/s and 2.776J respectively. The determined arithmetic, geometric, square and equivalent mean diameters are approximately the same(11.3cm±1.82cm). The pod, smooth and elliptical has a sphericity of 1.03±0.015.The performance characteristics of the machine, including Depodding Efficiency, Material Discharge Efficiency (product of Seed Discharge Efficiency and Pulp Discharge Efficency) and Overall Efficiency, were evaluated at six operating speeds (200 rpm, 250 rpm, 300 rpm, 350 rpm 370 rpm and 400 rpm) and one clearance setting (10mm) between the spiked – screw conveyor and the cylinder wall. The Depodding Efficiency varies between 32% and 74% while Seed Discharge Efficiency varies between 22% and 70%. The Pulp Discharge Efficiency varies between 0.6% and 2.1%, while the Overall Efficiency varies between 7.2% and 53.4%. In all, the maximum efficiency occurred at the operating speed of 300 rpm.Data obtained from the tests were subjected to one way analysis of variance (ANOVA)and test of significance using Least Significant Difference (LSD) at 0.025 level of probability. Results of the analyses carried out indicated that there were significant differences in the means of materials discharged from and left inside the machine at different machine speeds.Also the results showed that there were significant differences in the magnitudes of depodding efficiency (Ed), seed discharge efficiency (Es), material discharge efficiency (Emd) and overall efficiency (Eo) at all speeds tested. However, there were no significant differences in the mean differences of Ep at 200 rpm versus Ep at 350 rpm, Ep at 350 rpm versus Ep at 370 rpm and Ep at 370 rpm versus EP at 400 rp

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