Roots and tubers are important food crops with high industrial potential. In Nigeria, however, only very small percentage of crops produced are processed industrially due to varying physical characteristics. Physical, thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties of white yam (Discorea rotundata), water yam (Discorea alata), bitter yam (Discorea dumetorum), cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta), and sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) were investigated. Weight of the roots varied between 41.22 and 1169.80g respectively for cocoyams and white yam and density varied between 1332.99 and 1990.35g/mm3 respectively for cocoyam and bitter yam. Thermal conductivity of the roots and tubers varied from 0.40 to 0.47 Wm-1K-1, specific heat capacity, latent heat of fusion, and thermal diffusivity ranged between 2.78 to 3.303 S/cm, 167.44 to 228.54 kJKg-1 and 0.64 to 0.99 m2 s -1 respectively. Compressive and tensile strengths varied from 0.609 to 2.354Kgm-1s-2 and 0.091 to 0.822Nm-2, respectively. The electrical conductivity ranged from 1145 to 1701 μS/cm. Study showed that physical characteristics varied greatly among the roots and tubers crops. However, the thermal and mechanical properties and electrical conductivity of the roots and tubers are related and somehow dependent on moisture content.
Audience Take Away:
The audience will learn of some physical (weight, density, length, area and volume), thermal and mechanical properties and proximate compositions of selected tropical roots ant tuber crops.
- The knowledge gained may be applied in the design of processes and process equipment.
- This will help in planning accurate process control systems for the processing of these crops
- Yes. This research results can be utilized by mechanical, electrical and Agricultural process engineers in the design and fabrication of processing machineries for these roots and tuber crops.
- Yes. The results of the variations in physical characteristics of the crops will aid in the designing of appropriate mechanized and automated peeling, thermal and electrical equipment for processing
- The knowledge of the mechanical and thermal properties of the crops will improve accuracy of design of size reduction and thermal processing equipment for the specific applications.