Analysis of corn dust particle properties and how surface roughness influences adhesion

B. M. Plumier, Y. Zhao, M. E. Casada, R. G. Maghirang, R. P.K. Ambrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High dust concentrations associated with grain handling can cause serious problems, including health and safety risks from dust inhalation and increased risk of explosions due to contained suspended dust in the presence of an ignition source. The amount of dust generated during grain handling is influenced by several factors, including the adhesion strength of dust to the grain. One factor that could influence the adhesion strength of grain dusts is how the dust particles are shaped and how their shape relates to the surface texture of corn. To better understand the properties of dust particles separated from corn samples, dust samples were analyzed for morphology and particle size. In addition, dust samples were separated with different centrifugation speeds to compare the properties of dusts that were strongly or weakly attached to the grain. These samples were observed with a light profilometer to measure their surface roughness characteristics. Results showed that freshly harvested corn samples contained a higher presence of small particles with low circularity than older, lower quality samples. The large particles observed were determined to be starch, as opposed to the smaller particles that were more likely soil or other non-plant-based material. The dust particles that were more strongly attached to corn kernels tended to have lower surface roughness than those that were weakly attached for the freshly harvested grain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1497
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020


  • Dust adhesion
  • Particle shape
  • Surface adhesion
  • Surface roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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