The width of cut tobacco strands is an important indicator for physical parameters as well as for the smoking quality. In some countries, cut width helps to distinguish fine-cut tobacco and pipe tobacco and thus differentiates taxation rate. A new method for rapid measurement of the width of cut tobacco strands was developed based on digital image processing, because the method described in ISO 20193, though easy to implement in factories, proved time consuming and generated high testing costs. The essence of this method is to determine the statistic width of incisions. The straight-line segments represent the width of strands of cut tobacco, from which the determination of the width for randomly placed tobacco strands could be achieved. Five kinds of samples (‘ISO collaborative study samples 0.4 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.6 mm and 3.0 mm’ and ‘Guangdong baked 0.9 mm’) were used to study the comparability of the measurement results between the method presented in this work and the current ISO method. Results show that accuracy and repeatability are comparable. In addition, the testing efficiency of the method presented in this work appears to be higher than the current ISO method, and it is thus a promising alternative method for measuring the width of strands of cut tobacco.
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