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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Stephan Gent


The structural and the rheological properties of corn stover biomass are analyzed applying material testing techniques. Developing testing methods to determine the hardness, reduced elastic modulus, and multiple axis fiber strength is one of the challenges of this study. Hardness and reduced elastic modulus parameters of corn stalk fibers are determined through a nanoindentation machine, NANOVEA®. Tensile strength and flexure tests are performed using a universal testing machine, MTS Insight®. Rheological properties (internal friction coefficient, angle of internal friction, and cohesion) of chopped corn stover biomass in bulk are analyzed using a custom direct shear cell and compared to the limited findings in literature. The measured properties of the biomass have the potential to be used in computer simulations for bulk solid flow analysis. The bulk fluid motion of the pulverized/chopped biomass can be simulated in storage and transportation equipment, including auguring screws and pneumatic conveyance systems, as well as devices for feeding biomass feedstocks in biorefineries. Traditional biochemical and thermochemical reactors operate as batch systems because of the difficulty of feeding the biomass feedstock in a continuous manner. Having a clearer background about the structural and rheological properties of biomass feedstock will help simulate and design the bulk-solid flows within storage bins and conveyance systems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Corn stover
Plant biomass
Energy crops


Includes bibliographical references (pages 80-87)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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