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Moisture Content

Content of moisture in products like wood - wet and dry basis

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Moisture content is the amount of water present in a moist sample of a product like wood, soil or similar. Moisture content  can be be expressed on wet or dry basis.

Moisture Content on Dry Basis

Moisture content on dry basis is the mass of water to the mass of dry solid:

MCd = mh2o / md                                        (1)


MCd = moisture content on dry basis

mh2o = mass of water (kg, lb)

md = mass of dry solid (kg, lb)

Moisture content on dry basis is commonly used in the timber industry. Note that it is common to multiply values with 100%.

Water Content on Wet Basis

Water content on wet basis is the mass of water to the mass of water and mass of solid:

MCw = mh2o / m

    mh2omh2o + md                                   (2)


MCw = moisture content on wet basis

mh2o = mass of water (kg, lb)

mw = total mass of moist - or wet - sample - mass of solid and mass of water (kg,lb)

Example - Water Content in Birch on Wet Basis

The density of air-dried seasoned dry Birch is 705 kg/m3 with 20% (0.2) water content. The amount of water per unit volume can be calculated by transforming (2) to

mh2omw MCw

       = (705 kg/m3) (0.2)

       = 141 kg/m3

The amount of solids can be calculated as

md = (705 kg/m3) (1 - 0.2)

     = 564 kg/m3

Example - Moisture Content in Birch on Dry Basis

The density of air-dried seasoned dry Birch is 705 kg/m3 with 20% (0.2) moisture content. Equation (1) can be modified to

MCd = mh2o / (m - mh2o)                                  (1b)


m = mass  water and solid (kg, lb)

This equation can be transformed to

 mh2oMCd m / (1 + MCd )                  (1c)

The moisture content per unit volume can be calculated as

mh2o = (0.2) (705 kg/m3) / (1 + (0.2))

       = 117.5 kg/m3

The amount of solids can be calculated as

md = m - mh2o   

     = (705 kg/m3) - (117.5 kg/m3)

     = 587.5 kg/m3

Moisture and Water Content Calculator

mass (kg, lb)

moisture/water content (%)

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