The most common method for determining the level of moisture in solid and semi-solid materials is through the loss on drying (LOD) technique. A sample is weighed on a scale, heated in an oven, then cooled in a dry atmosphere and weighed once more. The dry weight versus the wet weight gives an indication of what percentage of the sample is water. However, this method is slow…
To speed up the slow laboratory method of LOD measurement, a digital moisture analyzer with an electronic balance is used. The balance is independent of and thermally isolated from the heating element, allowing for precise results. In many industrial applications, the moisture balance can provide an effective substitute for the labor intensive and protracted oven method.
What is a moisture analyzer?
Moisture analyzers are sometimes called “moisture balances”. They’re instruments that determine the moisture content of various types of samples. The drying procedures are highly customizable, since different things react to different types of drying procedures, well, differently. Moisture analyzers are often connected to computers to observe and analyze the drying process and its effects on the sample. You can save the tests in the instrument’s memory to repeat frequent testing parameters without having to set them up over and over again, which saves a lot of time.
Why should I use a Moisture Analyzer instead of oven drying?
Moisture analyzers are usually quicker than ovens, and they do the analysis, calculations and weighing in the same instrument so the process has less steps, which decreases the chances of errors. There is no gap in the data from the beginning of the weighing until the weighing of the dried sample. Moisture analyzers are also more portable, which is ideal if you have various labs or buildings that you need to transport the instrument to. They are also connected to computers and well adapted to data communication and analysis. A moisture analyzer can have multiple test methods, and you can save them for later usage. They can be connected to printers for added convenience.
Getting started with moisture measurements can be a challenging task. Unlike a balance where there is a definitive ‘correct’ value, a moisture analyzer relies on the user to set up the device correctly to achieve a particular result.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for moisture analysis as the samples that can be and are used vary greatly and have a great deal of variance in both chemical and physical properties.
It is up to you as the user to understand the particular substance you wish to test and develop a method that best fits your sample.
In general there are 2 ways to use a moisture analyzer. First, if you already have a reference value (likely from a drying oven or other moisture determination process) you can orient your method development to target this value. As a starting point, we always recommend using the default values [automatic shut off value of 1mg / 60 seconds (A60), and the standard drying profile] and manipulating the temperature to find your optimal setting.
We have several different moisture balances available from various manufacturers. These brands that we offer are respected brands in the weighing industry and priced to meet just about any laboratory’s budget. with models such as: Ohaus (MB120), Intelligent Lab (IL-50), Adam Equipment (PMB 53) and Sartorius (MA35).