What Is A Moisture Analyzer and How Does It Work?

What is a moisture analyzer hero image.

Moisture analyzers are precision instruments providing documentable data on moisture content, or the percentage of moisture in a product. 

Examples of incorrect moisture content include soggy potato chips and sugar that lumps up in the bowl, and dried out cookies. 

While these examples result from moisture in the atmosphere affecting product quality, moisture content is highly critical when manufacturing and processing a seemingly endless variety of products.

It is in the manufacturing of products that moisture content standards apply.  In the sugar example cited above, moisture content according to the EU sugar policy may be a maximum of 0.06%

Moisture content standards apply to virtually any product but first you should understand that there are different types of moisture.  It can be found  on the surface, in pores or capillaries, and chemically bonded.… Read the rest

Selection Tips for Moisture Analyzers

If you are shopping for a moisture analyzer and feel stymied by the number of choices, these moisture analyzer selection tips should help.

Moisture balance selection criteria are based on factors including:

  • Resolution or the smallest difference that can be read on the display.  This is also termed readability or readout.
  • Repeatability – the ability of a moisture balance to display the same result when the same sample is tested repeatedly.  Expressed as a standard deviation.
  • Features important to performing moisture analysis.  These are based on the characteristics of product being analyzed such as those require special heating profiles.
  • Specialized capabilities such as testing products with extremely low moisture content specs,  providing graphic displays of changing moisture content, and building libraries of frequently performed tests.

Four Candidate Moisture Analyzers

Tovatech offers several models of moisture analyzers from which researchers or QC personnel can select the most cost-effective solution to their … Read the rest

Moisture Content Analysis for Powdered Milk

Measuring the moisture content in powdered milk is an important quality control step. The Canadian Dairy Commission, for example, states that with low moisture content, chemical reactions in skim milk powder stored at room temperature take place so slowly that the nutritive value is not affected, even after years of storage. A variation is powdered filled milk that Wikipedia describes as filled milk when it is any milk, cream, or skim milk that has been reconstituted with fats, usually vegetable oils, from sources other than dairy cows.

Checking Moisture Content for Powdered Milk

According to the Canadian Dairy Commission target moisture content is 3- 4%. Spray drying is the principal method used for drying milk in the dairy industry. As explained in a Food Product Design article spray drying in its simplest form consists of atomizing the feed, spray-air contact, drying, and separation of the dried product from the drying … Read the rest

How Precise Moisture Analysis Contributes to QC in Concrete Production

How Precise Moisture Analysis Contributes to QC in Concrete Production

Quality control (QC) measures apply to virtually any manufactured product including the mixing of ingredients use in the production of concrete.  Among these is precise control of moisture in the ingredients.  Concrete moisture content is specified in standards issued by the ASTM and CSA*.  In this post we describe how Barkman Concrete, headquartered in Steinbach, Manitoba, uses a high-resolution benchtop moisture analyzer to assure quality control while reducing the time to conduct critical moisture analysis.

Here you will learn about:

  • Concrete ingredients and the water-to-cement ratio
  • Sources of moisture in concrete ingredients
  • Concrete moisture analysis at Barkman
  • Barkman experience with a benchtop moisture analyzer
  • How a benchtop moisture analyzer works

Concrete Ingredients

Garry Funk is Research and Development Manager at Barkman Concrete (www.barkmanconcrete.com), voted in 2018 as one of Canada’s best-managed companies. Garry explains “Concrete at its most basic is a simple mix of small aggregates (sand), larger … Read the rest

How to Select a Moisture Analyzer for QC in Sludge Dewatering  Operations

Moisture content is a critical criterion to determine the acceptability of treated sewage sludge (called biosolids or sludge cake) as an acceptable product for use as a fuel and a nutrient-rich organic material.  Moisture analyzers play a vital role in quality control procedures at sludge dewatering plants.

After the brief intro our post explains two options for moisture analysis at these plants.

A Brief Intro to Sludge Dewatering at Sewage Treatment Plants

Improved wastewater treatment processes separate sewage sludge, called cake, as a usable biomass from water that must meet regulated levels of purity before being discharged into water courses. 

For the cake to be useable its moisture content must be known to within 0.5 – 1%.  This knowledge helps operators to control the drying process that turns biomass into a fuel.  Industrial-scale dryers are used in this operation.   As you might imagine, the lower the moisture content the more … Read the rest

How to use a Moisture Analyzer for Liquid Products

At first it might seem that determining moisture content in liquids is a contradiction in terms.  After all, liquids are moisture, right? But think of the difference in taste between a quality brand of vegetable juice and the watered-down taste of a bargain brand.  That’s why processors of quality liquid products such as juices and syrups use a moisture analyzer to determine if their product meets their own and industry standards.

Drying ovens to remove excess moisture are part of the processing steps in preparing products such as vegetable juices.  But spot-checks using a moisture analyzer should be made prior to packaging.  Also called moisture balances, these devices consist of a halogen heater mounted on a precision analytical balance.  They are programmed to determine moisture content by the thermogravimetric process and display loss of weight on drying (LOD).  “Drying” might seem a misnomer here because the liquid is never fully … Read the rest

Use a Moisture Analyzer for Wood Pellet Quality Control

The Kern MLB moisture analyzer available from Tovatech.

Wood pellets are becoming more popular as an alternative or supplementary source of heat in many homes and businesses across the land.   The Pellet Fuel Institute in October 2011 issued its “Standard Specification for Residential/Commercial Densified Fuel” including recommended moisture content for premium, standard and utility grade wood pellets.  A compact moisture analyzer can be used to spot-check moisture content during pellet processing steps.

The Wood Pellet Manufacturing Cycle

A typical 40-pound bag of wood pellets originates as hard- or softwood sawdust, chips, waste materials from furniture and floor manufacturing – virtually any source of wood including trees unsuitable for other uses. The stock is processed to a uniform size with a moisture content of about 13% to 16% prior to the pelletizing operation.   Pelletizing is accomplished under high temperatures (~200 ˚F) and pressure (~ 45,000 psi) during which the lignin in the wood serves to bind the particles together … Read the rest

Moisture Analysis – A Close-up Look

Moisture Analysis - What You Need to Know

Moisture content is an important quality control criterion across the board and relates to establishing or conforming to specified levels of moisture in a product.  Correct moisture levels are established by government, trade and professional organizations and relate to the percentage of water and other liquids in a product.  Therefore, moisture analysis, can be viewed as first establishing recommended moisture content then checking to confirm that products meet the criterion during and after processing prior to packaging.

All of us experience the impact of incorrect moisture content.  Salt and sugar, for example, absorb moisture from the air and cake up.  Crispy potato chips quickly get gummy on humid picnic days.  Portland cement will turn into a block if left unsealed in the garage.

On the other side, when you buy a product by weight you don’t want to pay for excess water.  If water is intentionally added to a product … Read the rest

How to Use Moisture Analyzers for Grain & Flour Quality Control

The KERN MRS moisture analyzer is a professional quality solution to measuring moisture in grains, flours and other food products.
A moisture analyzer is a professional quality solution to measuring moisture in grains, flours and other food products.

Moisture content, defined as the percentage of a product’s weight due to water, is an essential measure of quality control.  A gravimetric moisture analyzer is employed across a broad spectrum of industries to confirm that moisture content is in line with regulations governing a particular industry.

Agricultural products such as grains and the flour derived from grains provide an illustration of where a moisture analyzer is put into play.  A University of Minnesota Extension Report, for example, states that wheat and barley grain must have a moisture content of 13% to 14% for safe storage.  Achieving that target can be costly and time consuming in wet weather.  

When wheat is milled to flour another target applies. A study at the Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, reports … Read the rest

The Role of a Moisture Analyzer in Manufacturing Fine Wood Furniture

The Kern MLB 50-3N Moisture analyzer from Tovatech is a valuable tool to confirm moisture content in wood.

If your antique family rocking chair or your wood dining chairs start to squeak and wobble chances are the humidity in your home is too low.   On the other hand, if you notice swelling or warping, the atmosphere may be too humid.   This is physical and visual evidence of the importance of moisture content to maintaining fine wood furniture.  It starts with manufacturing, which is why a moisture analyzer is often put to work to verify optimum moisture content before furniture is assembled.

Moisture and Wood

Newly cut wood may have a moisture content of 30%, meaning that 30% of its weight is water.  That’s why anyone splitting cordwood knows that it has to be seasoned before being burned, and that the wood is much lighter after a season in the open air than when it was freshly split.  Seasoning also applies to wood used in construction, and especially in … Read the rest