Year of Publication

2005

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

J. Robert Heath

Abstract

Percent Moisture Content (MC %) of wood is defined to be the weight of the moisture in the wood divided by the weight of the dry wood times 100%. Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC), moisture content at environmental equilibrium is a very important metric affecting the performance of wood in many applications. For best performance in many applications, the goal is to maintain this value between 6% and 8%. EMC value is a function of the temperature and the relative humidity of the surrounding air of wood. It is very important to maintain this value while processing, storing or finishing the wood. This thesis develops a special purpose sensor and processor system to be implemented as a small hand-held device used to sense, calculate and display the value of EMC of wood depending on surrounding environmental conditions. Wood processing industry personnel would use the hand-held EMC calculating and display device to prevent many potential problems that can show significant affect on the performance of wood. The design of the EMC device requires the use of sensors to obtain the required inputs of temperature and relative humidity. In this thesis various market available sensors are compared and appropriate sensor is chosen for the design. The calculation of EMC requires many arithmetic operations with stringent precision requirements. Various arithmetic algorithms and systems are compared in terms of meeting required arithmetic functionality, precision requirements, and silicon implementation area and gate count, and a suitable choice is made. The resulting processor organization and design is coded in VHDL using the Xilinx ISE 6.2.03i tool set. The design is synthesized, validated via VHDL virtual prototype simulation, and implemented to a Xilinx Spartan2E FPGA for experimental hardware prototype testing and evaluation. It is tested over various ranges of temperature and relative humidity. Comparison of experimentally calculated EMC values with the theoretical values of EMC derived for corresponding temperature and relative humidity points resulted in validation of the EMC processor architecture, functional performance and arithmetic precision requirements.

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