The purpose of this study is to analyze structural material properties of biomass materials, namely corn stover. The microstructure of the biomass is examined by using a nano-hardness testing machine (NANOVEA®). The goal of this analysis is to test the hardness and elasticity of individual fibers using nanoindentation and to develop testing techniques to perform this task. The results of the stated tests are statistically analyzed. The measured structural properties of the biomass have the potential to be used in computer simulations for structural analysis and bulk solid flows. 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.

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