# Simulation Research on Cotton Stalk Cutting and Crushing Based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA and Field Experiments

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## Abstract

**:**

_{1}on cotton stalk cutting were studied by using single-factor simulation tests. An edge angle of γ = 45° and a height of h

_{1}= 265 mm were determined. Meanwhile, the mechanism of cotton straw crushing was revealed, and the motion states of the straw were studied at different times. The results of the simulation experiments on the influence of the cutter shaft’s rotational speed showed that with an increase in the cutter shaft’s speed, the rate of qualified crushing and the removal rate were both increased. At the design speed of n = 1800 RPM, the rate of qualified crushing was 84.6%, and the removal rate was 95.1%. Then, field experiments were carried out. The test results were as follows: the stubble height was 8.0 cm, the rate of qualified straw crushing was 91.8%, the clearance rate of film-surface impurities was 92.3%, and the film content was 3.6%, which met the working quality requirements (not less than 85%) of NYT 500-2015: “Operating quality for straw-smashing machines”.

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Structure of the Front-Mounted Cotton-Straw-Crushing Device

#### 2.2. Working Principle

## 3. Design of the Key Components and Parameter Determination

#### 3.1. Cutter Blade

_{0}was designed to be 120 mm in this study. Under the condition that the strength was guaranteed, it was necessary for the thickness of the cutter blade d

_{0}to be between 5 mm and 10 mm [16]. In order to increase the moment of inertia of the blade, prevent the blade from deformation, and ensure a high safety factor, d

_{0}was designed to be 8 mm [17]. If the cutter blade’s width D

_{0}was too large, this would result in the overlapping of adjacent blades, increased wind resistance, and increased power consumption. However, if the width of the cutter blade D

_{0}was too small, this would result in a gap between adjacent blades during operation, and the air speed on the film surface would not be able to reach the purpose of removing light impurities. Because the axial distance of the adjacent tool apron was 70 mm, D

_{0}was designed to be 70 mm. The blade was bent with a bending radius of 40 mm. So, the length of the cutter blade b

_{0}was 40 mm. γ was the cutting edge angle of the cutter blade, which had a significant influence on the contact force when cutting cotton stalks in the following simulation study.

#### 3.2. Fixed Blades

_{N}of the fixed blade. According to the conservation of momentum, the following relationship existed:

_{N}was the main force involved in straw crushing; then, the dip angle α was as large as possible (not more than 90°). When the high-speed collision time ∆t approached 0, the inertial force F approached infinity; it was considered that F was much larger than mg, and the gravitational effect could be ignored at this time. There was a critical state:

_{b}] was 735 MPa, the yield strength [σ

_{s}] was 430 MPa, the density ρ was 7.9 × 10

^{3}kg/m

^{3}, Poisson’s ratio v was 0.3, the elastic modulus E was 206 GPa, and the shear modulus G was 79.38 GPa. The failure load at the bottom of the cotton stalk was 3.35 kN [20], and the same force value was applied to the contact surface of the fixed blade. The maximum stress and maximum deformation were used as experimental response indexes to reflect the strength of the fixed blade; thus, they were used as the target parameters [21]. Because the thickness of the fixed blade t was determined to be 4 mm, the other structural parameters were the key factors that affected its strength. So, according to the actual situation, the strength of the fixed blade and practical premises were ensured, and the height h between 0.5b and 1.5b and a dip angle α between 60° and 90° were used as independent variables for the finite element analysis, as shown in Figure 5.

_{b}] ≥ 735 MPa) and the minimum tensile strength of the weld metal ([σ

_{B}] ≥ 43 kgf/mm

^{2}= 420 MPa [22]), it could be seen that the fixed blade that was designed was safe.

#### 3.3. Crushing Chamber

_{1}(or h

_{2}), which was the height of the front (or rear) baffles from the ground, as well as L

_{1}(or L

_{2}), which was the clearance between the front baffles (or rear baffles) and the edge of the cutter blade, as shown in Figure 7. If L

_{1}was too large, the straw-crushing effect was not good; otherwise, if L

_{1}was too small, this would easily result in blockage. The clearance between the upper wall of the crushing chamber and the edge of the cutter blade was designed to be equal to L

_{1}. So, we calculated L

_{1}according to Formula (3).

_{1}= 30 mm + 4 mm + 11.54 mm = 45.54 mm, and this calculation was integrated into the design as L

_{1}= 45 mm. In addition, if L

_{2}was too large, a broken cotton stalk would be brought back to the film’s surface, which was not conducive to residual-film recovery. In the preliminary design of this device, L

_{2}was slightly less than L

_{1}, so L

_{2}= 40 mm was used.

_{A}at point A, and its direction was inclined upwards along the direction of the stalk and perpendicular to l

_{OA}. The partial velocities of V

_{A}along the x and y axes were V

_{Ax}and V

_{Ay}, as shown in Figure 8. The conditions for the stalk to enter the crushing chamber smoothly were

_{Ax}= V

_{Ay}, φ

_{0}= 45°; then, the following existed:

_{min}= 48 m/s for the unsupported cutting of cotton stalks [24], the rotary radius of the cutter blade was determined to be R = 265 mm. Substituting L

_{1}= 45 mm and R = 265 mm into Formula (5), l

_{BD}= 65 mm was obtained. h

_{0}was the distance between the cutter blade’s edge and the ground, as shown in Figure 8. The height h

_{0}could be changed with a depth-limiting adjustment mechanism (60 mm ≤ h

_{0}≤ 100 mm), and h

_{0}= 80 mm was used in the preliminary design. Then, the height of h

_{1}= 280 mm was also determined for the preliminary design in a subsequent explicit dynamic simulation. Specific requirements for the height of h

_{2}are rarely reported. Here, h

_{2}= 180 mm, so both side plates would be the same distance from the ground.

## 4. Analysis and Establishment of an Explicit Dynamic Model

#### 4.1. Geometric Model of a Cotton Stalk

#### 4.2. Cutting Model and Meshing Grid

#### 4.3. Crushing Model and Meshing Grid

#### 4.4. Material Properties

_{x}(or E

_{y}), axial elastic modulus E

_{z}, axial shear modulus G

_{xy}, radial shear modulus G

_{xz}(or G

_{yz}), Poisson’s ratio u

_{xy}, and Poisson’s ratio u

_{xz}(or u

_{yz}). Then, the complete flexibility matrix could be determined, and the constitutive equation of a cotton stalk could be obtained. With reference to [26], nine independent elastic parameters of cotton stalk materials are shown in Table 1. In addition, the volume of a cotton stalk sample (ideal cylindrical shape) was measured with electronic vernier calipers, the mass was measured with an electronic balance, and the cotton stalk’s density was calculated as 489.11 kg/m

^{3}. Since cotton stalks have an elastic structure, the plastic-strain-failure mode was selected to simulate their failure. The evaluation index was expressed as the maximum equivalent plastic strain (EPS). Generally, the EPS of materials is no more than 20%.

^{3}kg/m

^{3}, Young’s modulus was 2 × 10

^{5}MPa, Poisson’s ratio was 0.3, the bulk modulus was 1.67 × 10

^{5}MPa, and the shear modulus was 7.69 × 10

^{5}MPa.

#### 4.5. Contact and Constraints

## 5. Simulation Results and Analysis

#### 5.1. Simulation Results for Cutting

#### 5.1.1. Equivalent Stress and Velocity Variations

_{i}and kinetic energy E

_{k}of the cotton stalk. There were no significant changes in the stalks’ kinetic energy until they made contact with the cutter blade.

#### 5.1.2. Contact Force and Energy Variations

#### 5.1.3. Effect of the Cutting Edge Angle (γ) on Stalk Cutting

#### 5.1.4. Effect of the Front Baffle Height (h_{1}) on Stalk Cutting

_{1}was greater than 280 mm, the cotton stalks could not be effectively cut, and the broken stalks flew forward, which was not conducive to the subsequent straw-crushing operation. In addition, h

_{1}should not be too small; otherwise, the high-speed air that would be generated might adsorb the residual film, thus aggravating the damage to the film’s surface, which would not be conducive to the subsequent recovery of the residual film. In this section, h

_{1}= 280 mm, 265 mm, and 250 mm were selected for a single-factor simulation test. The height h

_{1}had little influence on the contact force, which first increased and then decreased, as shown in Figure 16.

_{1}, the instantaneous kinetic energy obtained by the cotton stalks first increased and then decreased. The maximum kinetic energy of the cotton stalks was obtained when h

_{1}= 265 mm, which was more conducive for the stalks to enter the crushing chamber, and the contact force was also at its maximum. After comprehensive consideration, the front baffle height was finally determined to be h

_{1}= 265 mm.

#### 5.1.5. Effect of the Cutter’s Rotational Speed n on Stalk Cutting

_{1}= 265 mm, v

_{0}=1500 mm/s) remaining unchanged, only the cutter’s rotational speed n was varied. When the rotational speed n was lower than 1600 RPM, the cotton stalks could not be effectively cut, which was not conducive to the subsequent crushing operation. Moreover, a rotational speed of n = 1800 RPM was chosen, and a simulation test was carried out under the conditions of n = 1600 RPM, 1800 RPM, and 2000 RPM. The effect of the cutter’s rotational speed on stalk cutting was studied.

#### 5.1.6. Effects of the Machine’s Forward Speed v_{0} on Stalk Cutting

_{1}= 265 mm, n = 1800 RPM) remaining unchanged, only the machine’s forward speed v

_{0}was varied. Simulation tests were carried out under the conditions of v

_{0}= 1000 mm/s, 1500 mm/s, and 2000 mm/s to study the effects of the machine’s forward speed on stalk cutting.

#### 5.2. Simulation Results for Crushing

_{0}), the forward speed of the machine was ignored, that is, the forward speed of the machine was v

_{0}= 0 m/s. The crushing process for cotton stalks was illustrated by taking the cutter shaft’s rotation speed of n = 2000 RPM as an example, as shown in Figure 19.

#### 5.2.1. Equivalent Stress and Velocity Variations

#### 5.2.2. Contact Force and Energy Variations

#### 5.2.3. Effect of the Cutter’s Rotational Speed on Straw Smashing

_{0}and the removal rate ε

_{0}were calculated with the following formula:

_{C}is the stubble height (mm), L

_{U}is the unqualified length of crushed stalks (mm), L

_{R}is the length of stalks that fall on the ground (mm), and 650 is the length of the cotton stalk model (mm).

## 6. Field Experiment

#### 6.1. Test Conditions

#### 6.2. Test Indexes and Method

#### 6.2.1. Stubble Height Y_{1}

_{1}is the stubble height (mm); y

_{ij}is the stubble height of each straw measured at each measuring point (i = 1,2…, 5; j = 1,2,3). The collection of the stubble height data is shown in Figure 24a.

#### 6.2.2. Rate of Qualified Straw Crushing Y_{2}

_{2}could be expressed as (i = 1,2…, 5)

_{2}is the rate of qualified straw crushing (%); m

_{zi}is the mass of all straw in the range of 1 m × 1 m (g); and m

_{bi}is the mass of the straw with an unqualified length in the range of 1 m × 1 m (g).

#### 6.2.3. Film-Surface-Impurity Clearance Rate Y_{3}

_{p}is the mass of impurities that were thrown out (kg); M

_{z}is the total impurity mass on the film’s surface (kg); and ρ

_{Z}is the film-surface-impurity quality per unit length (kg/m). Here, the value of ρ

_{Z}= 2.532 kg/m was measured during the test. Due to the need to collect and measure the quality of the impurities that were thrown out, the length L of the test area should not have been too large every time. In this study, L = 30 m. The data collected on the impurities are shown in Figure 24c.

#### 6.2.4. Film Content Y_{4}

_{4}could be expressed as (i = 1,2…, 5)

_{pi}is the mass of the residual film thrown out at each measuring point (g); m

_{c}is the residual film mass within the measuring-point length of 5 m (g). According to previous measurements, the residual-film mass per unit length of the film was about 64 g, so m

_{c}= 5 × 64 = 320 g. The smaller Y

_{4}was, the better, as this indicated a greater residual-film recovery. Otherwise, it indicated that in the process of crushing and returning straw to the field, the film surface was sucked into the crushing chamber and thrown out. The residual film was collected and weighed, as shown in Figure 24d.

## 7. Results and Discussion

#### 7.1. Experimental Results

_{0}was too high. When the speed v

_{0}exceeded 7 km/h, the stubble height was too great. However, the speed v

_{0}could not be slower than 4.5 km/h, as this would seriously affect the working efficiency and would not allow the agronomic requirements to be met. When the cutter’s rotational speed n exceeded 2000 RPM, too much broken film was thrown out, which indirectly resulted in a low rate of residual-film recovery. However, the rotational speed n should not be too low. When the rotational speed n was lower than 1600 RPM, the effect of the removal of impurities on the film’s surface was not good, resulting in more impurities in the recovered residual film.

#### 7.2. Discussion

_{0}(of the cutter blade’s edge from the ground) had an important influence on the velocity and pressure distribution in the crushing chamber, which affected the effect of the removal of impurities on the film’s surface. The lower the height h

_{0}, the greater the flow rate of the wind field on the film’s surface, which could promote the removal of impurities on the film’s surface but aggravated the risk of damaging it, resulting in a substantial increase in the film content. The greater the height h

_{0}, the greater the stubble height if the height h

_{0}was more than 70 mm. However, the stubble height was greater than 80 mm. To reduce the film content and stubble height as much as possible, the height h

_{0}was adjusted to 7.0 cm.

## 8. Conclusions

_{1}on cotton stalk cutting was studied with single-factor simulation tests. An edge angle of γ = 45° and a height of h

_{1}= 265 mm were determined, and the influences of the cutter’s rotational speed and forward speed on cutting were also studied. Meanwhile, the mechanism of cotton straw crushing was revealed, and the motion states of the straw were studied at different times. By studying the influence of the cutter shaft’s rotation speed on the rate of qualified straw crushing η

_{0}and removal rate ε

_{0}, it was concluded that with an increase in the cutter shaft’s speed, the rate of qualified crushing and the removal rate were both increased. At the design speed of n = 1800 RPM, the rate of qualified crushing was η

_{0}= 84.6%, and the removal rate was ε

_{0}= 95.1%.

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Informed Consent Statement

## Data Availability Statement

## Conflicts of Interest

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**Figure 1.**Diagram of the structure of the front-mounted cotton-straw-crushing device: 1. Drive shaft; 2. Belt transmission system; 3. Tensioning mechanism; 4. Straight pipe section; 5. Cutter blade; 6. Fixed blade; 7. Crushing chamber.

**Figure 2.**Structural design of the cutter blade: 1. Cutter blade; 2. Connector; 3. Pin shaft; 4. Tool apron; 5. Cutter shaft; 6. Round washer; 7. Cotter pin. D

_{0}, b

_{0}, d

_{0}, and L

_{0}are the width, length, thickness, and height of the blade, respectively, and γ is the edge angle of the blade.

**Figure 3.**Schematic diagram of the array of cutter blades: 1. Cutter blade; 2. Cutter shaft; 3. Fixed blade.

**Figure 4.**Design of the fixed blade for crushing: 1. Steel plate; 2. Fixed blade; 3. Positive fillet weld; 4. Upper inner wall of the crushing chamber. b is the width of the steel plate, d represents the two adjacent fixed blades, t represents the fixed blade, α is the dip angle, h is the height of the fixed blade, F is the inertial force, F

_{N}is the normal cutting force of the cotton straw, f is the friction force, v is the velocity of the cotton straw before the collision, β is the throwing angle of the crushing chamber, and m is the mass of the cotton straw.

**Figure 7.**Structural design of the crushing chamber: h

_{1}(or h

_{2)}is height of the front (or rear) baffles from the ground, and L

_{1}(and L

_{2}) is the clearance between the front baffles (or rear baffles) and the edge of the cutter blade. β is the throwing angle of the crushing chamber, v

_{0}is the forward speed of the device, w is the angular speed of the cutter shaft, R is the radius of the motion of the cutter blade’s edge, xOy is a rectangular coordinate system with the center of the cutter shaft as the origin, and P(x

_{P}, y

_{P}) is a point on the motion path of the cutter blade’s edge.

**Figure 8.**Instantaneous velocity analysis: h

_{1}(or h

_{2}) is the height of the front (or rear) baffles from the ground, and L

_{1}(or L

_{2}) is the clearance between the front baffles (or rear baffles) and the edge of the cutter blade. h

_{0}is the height of the edge of the cutter blade from the ground, v

_{0}is the forward speed of the device, w is the angular speed of the cutter shaft, R is the radius of the motion of the cutter blade’s edge, xOy is a rectangular coordinate system with the center of the cutter shaft as the origin, V

_{A}is the velocity of the cut stalk, V

_{Ax}and V

_{Ay}are the partial velocities of V

_{A}along the x and y axes, and φ

_{0}is the angle between the cotton stalk and the ground.

**Figure 9.**Geometric model of a cotton stalk: z is the axial direction of the cotton stalk model, and x and y represent the two directions of the cross-section of the cotton stalk model, respectively.

**Figure 10.**Cutting model and meshing grid: 1. Cotton stalk; 2. Cutter shaft; 3. Tool apron; 4. Cutter blade; 5. Connector; 6. Front baffle. N is the number of nodes, and E is the number of grid elements.

**Figure 11.**Crushing model and meshing grid; 1. Cotton stalk; 2. Front baffle; 3. Fixed blade; 4. cutter blade; 5. Back baffle; 6. Cutter shaft; 7. Ground. N is the number of nodes, and E is the number of grid elements.

E_{x} | E_{y} | E_{z} | G_{xy} | G_{xz} | G_{yz} | u_{xy} | u_{xz} | u_{yz} |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

MPa | ||||||||

91.04 | 91.04 | 3181.79 | 28.45 | 180.88 | 180.88 | 0.6 | 0.025 | 0.025 |

_{x}is the radial (x) elasticity modulus, E

_{y}is the radial (y) elasticity modulus, E

_{z}is the axial elasticity modulus, G

_{xy}is the axial torsional shear modulus, G

_{xz}is the radial (y) bending shear modulus, G

_{yz}is the radial (y) bending shear modulus, μ

_{xy}is Poisson’s ratio (plane xy), μ

_{xz}is Poisson’s ratio (plane xz), and μ

_{yz}is Poisson’s ratio (plane yz).

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Wang, P.; Chen, X.; Wen, H.
Simulation Research on Cotton Stalk Cutting and Crushing Based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA and Field Experiments. *Agriculture* **2023**, *13*, 1268.
https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061268

**AMA Style**

Wang P, Chen X, Wen H.
Simulation Research on Cotton Stalk Cutting and Crushing Based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA and Field Experiments. *Agriculture*. 2023; 13(6):1268.
https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061268

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Wang, Peng, Xuegeng Chen, and Haojun Wen.
2023. "Simulation Research on Cotton Stalk Cutting and Crushing Based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA and Field Experiments" *Agriculture* 13, no. 6: 1268.
https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061268