(23f) Wear and Why? the Role of Ash in Biomass Processing Equipment Wear
Biomass feedstocks have been shown to cause high wear rates on biomass processing equipment, including grinders, pneumatic conveyance systems, and screw feeders. Previously, wear rates were positively correlated with ash concentrations. Physical and chemical properties, including ash content, vary across the anatomy of plants in biomass feedstocks. To better understand biomass tissues that cause the most wear, anatomical fractions of pine forest residues were tested for wear properties. Fractions were tested in the Accelerated Wear Testing Apparatus using steel coupon mass loss to evaluate wear rates. Extrinsic ash was extracted and characterized. Total ash content of the forest residue was 0.80wt%. Anatomical fractions showed varied amounts of ash with highest concentrations in bark and needles (2.33wt%, 3.52wt%, respectively). The wear rate of the forest residue was 2.36mg loss per kg biomass. Low ash fractions, including whitewood and cambium, caused little wear. Bark had lower ash than the needles but resulted in more wear (8.63 vs 5.57mg loss per kg biomass). Bark contained the most extrinsic ash and largest ash particle size, while needles contained the least extrinsic ash and smallest ash particle size. These findings indicate that total ash content (intrinsic plus extrinsic), soil contamination, and elemental analysis can provide information related to wear properties of biomass materials; however, these analyses do not fully explain the differences observed in the wear rates of bark and needles. Additional testing is to determine other parameters of importance.