When our customers tell me about the different places where CENCO and CSC Digital Moisture balances are used it always interests me.
CSC Scientific Blog
At one end of the spectrum of the moisture world is the classic Speedy Moisture Tester where you use the reaction of water with calcium carbide to cause a mini explosion resulting in a moisture measurement reading. This method is used frequently for soils, concrete, and other like materials.
Which looks more durable to you?
The value of a Bostwick Consistometer is that it’s easy to use, which makes it simple to do repeatable testing. The Consistometer is made of stainless steel. One would think that this means a long and useful life. However, as I regularly discover, the real world often defies theory.
A Consistometer’s value is diminished if its leveling plate and screws get bent out of alignment. The story that follows tells how people in the real world handle, or mishandle, this instrument, and what can be done to save it.
I used to think that liquids were pretty simple things. Is that what you think too?
Not so fast. Let’s take a look at three properties of liquids and see if we change our view.
Since I joined CSC Scientific in July 2013, I’ve been on a steep learning curve. You see, I’ve never been much of a science person. There was even one particular chemistry class in high school used to give me migraine headaches - routinely.
Having no real background in the sciences means that I’ve had a lot to learn since I joined a company that sells scientific testing equipment. Maybe you’re nodding in sympathy with me right now. Many of our clients – that is, the people doing the purchasing on behalf of their company – are not scientists and don’t have a thorough knowledge of the scientific principles behind the products they’re told to buy.
Sieve testing, as I have stated many times, is the Cinderella of particle size analysis because it delivers more value than expected from something that’s so easy to use and relatively inexpensive. However, the problem with standard sieving techniques using wire mesh sieves is that they begin to exhibit accuracy problems in the lower micron sizes.
Can you do a fast moisture test? The answer is, “maybe”.
The direct methods of Loss on Drying and Karl Fischer have the benefit that between them they can get a good moisture content result on almost any product or material.
But these tests usually take several minutes.
When you need the moisture content in a truck load of grain while the load is being dumped, or when you need to check several hundred bags of coffee at an auction, or when you need to get a moisture gradient in a pile of corn, a faster test is crucial.
Can you do it?
The short answer is, “yes”. There are, however certain caveats to this answer.
Automatic digital tensiometers are expensive - three to four times more so than a high-precision manual tensiometer. We hope to clearly depict when an automatic digital tensiometer is not merely nice to have, but essential.
Break the Curse of Particle Size Calculations.
Every now and then I’ve had to calculate the results of a sieve test: I’d get the sieves and sample loaded on the shaker, run the shaker, then realize I’d have to start over because I forgot to get the empty weight of each sieve. Or I’d have to carefully brush out the sample onto a balance.
Karl Fischer Titration and Loss on Drying (LOD) are both methods for determining moisture content in a product.
That’s where the similarities end, though. Here’s the difference between Karl Fischer and Loss on Drying: