27 Feb

Moisture Determination

Moisture determination in foods, grains, pharmaceuticals, plastics, gypsum and other building materials, and total solids in wastewater can be performed efficiently with the use of a moisture balance.  Although a balance and an oven can be used for moisture determination, a dedicated instrument such as a moisture analyzer is valuable for laboratories with large sample throughput.  Decisions can be made on the factory floor saving production time and money.

A moisture balance weighs the sample, heats the sample until a weight plateau is reached, then calculates the moisture content as loss on drying.  Some methods for loss on drying can take 3 or more  hours when a balance and an oven is used.  The technician must weigh and reweigh the sample during the drying process until there is no more change in the weight.  When using a moisture balance the sample is placed into the instrument and the moisture is determined in a few minutes without further interference by the technician.  Moisture analyzer manufacturers such as Mettler Toledo and Ohaus have predetermined methods for typical samples; these methods provide a starting point for method development by the scientist.  Drying times and temperatures can be stored in the instrument which provides reproducibility independent of the operator.  For laboratories which require fast sample analysis, high sample throughput and high consistency in moisture determination a moisture balance is a vital instrument.

Robin Prymula