The ratio between actual mass of water vapor present in moist air - to the mass of dry air
Humidity ratio can be expressed by mass of water - or by the vapor partial pressure in the moist air.
Humidity Ratio by Mass
Humidity ratio can be expressed as the ratio between the actual mass of water vapor present in moist air - to the mass of the dry air. Humidity ratio is normally expressed in kilogram or pounds of water vapor per kilogram or pounds of dry air.
Humidity ratio expressed by mass:
x = mw / ma (1)
x = humidity ratio (kgwater/kgair, lbwater/lbdry_air)
mw = mass of water vapor (kg, lb)
ma = mass of dry air (kg, lb)
Humidity Ratio by Vapor Partial Pressure
Humidity ratio can also be expressed with the partial pressure of water vapor:
x = 0.62198 pw / (pa - pw) (2)
pw = partial pressure of water vapor in moist air (Pa, psi)
pa = atmospheric pressure of moist air (Pa, psi)
The maximum amount of water vapor in the air is achieved when pw = pws the saturation pressure of water vapor at the actual temperature. (2) can be modified to:
xs = 0.62198 pws / (pa - pws) (3)
xs = specific humidity at saturation (kgwater/kgair, lbwater/lbdry_air)
The water vapor pressure is small regarding to the atmospheric pressure and the relation between the humidity ratio and the saturation pressure is almost linear.
Note! - be careful with these equations at higher temperatures - as indicated in Temperature and Moisture Holding Capacity of Air.
Maximum specific humidity at some common temperatures:
|Temperature (oC)||Saturation Pressure of Water Vapor |
|Maximum Humidity Ratio(kgw/kga)|
Note that the saturation pressure of water vapor, - and the maximum humidity ratio, increases dramatically with air temperature. This important for the capacity of drying processes.
Example - Humidity Ratio of Moist Air
The specific humidity for saturated humid air at 20oC with water vapor partial pressure 2333 Pa at atmospheric pressure of 101325 Pa (1013 mbar, 760 mmHg) can be calculated as:
x = 0.62198 (2333 Pa) / ((101325 Pa) - (2333 Pa))
= 0.0147 (kg/kg)
= 14.7 (g/kg)
- en: specific humidity ratio air gpp
- es: gpp relación aire humedad específica
- de: spezifische Feuchte Luftverhältnis gpp