Airflow resistance of two hop varieties
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The quality of hops used in brewing is substantially reliant upon the processing step of drying. To ensure effective drying in kiln as well conveyor-belt dryers, homogeneous distribution of air is of particular importance. Uneven air distribution often results in inefficient drying and nonuniform moisture content of the hop cones. The air distribution naturally is governed by the airflow resistances in the individual floors or belts of a dryer. Hence, in order to quantify the airflow resistance of hop cones at different air velocities and bed heights, systematic measurements were carried out. In addition to determining the bulk densities of hops, the investigations included trials with fresh and dried hop samples. Clear differences were observed between hop varieties both in measured pressure drops and in bulk densities. Moreover, in the case of fresh hops, a non-linear increase in pressure drop with bed height was ascertained. Semiempirical equations were developed to describe pressure drop as a function of air velocity. This work will contribute to the design of dryers with optimum airflow distribution and thus enhance the efficiency of drying as well as the product quality.