The answer to the question, “How Long Does a Water Activity Test Take?” is, as with most testing questions, “it depends.” Some water activity meters promise a test completed in a very short time; some in as little as five minutes. This time is an arbitrary selection that may or may not produce a satisfactory result.Read More
CSC Scientific Blog
Last week, as I was reflecting on a recent moisture content problem, I recalled our series “Loss-on Drying and Other Moisture Mysteries.” In that series I examined moisture chemistry in products. However, I did little to define moisture content.
Just over six months ago, I began this journey explaining the simplest approach to measuring or determining moisture: Loss-on Drying. Little did I know how involved and esoteric it would become.
This voyage has taken me down mysterious paths through spooky theories, back to age-old chemistry concepts and into the vagaries of thermodynamics related to evaporation, vapor pressure, bound water and water activity. I have come full-circle; back to explaining Loss-on Drying -- a form of drying that I had assumed would be the simplest of all.
I thought the first four topics [evaporation, vapor pressure, bound moisture, water activity] were tough, complex, confounding and less-than-obvious. Drying -- defined as “the mass-transfer process of removing water (or other solute) by evaporation from a solid, semi solid or liquid” -- seemed easy.
As is often the case, reality makes “easy” a non-operative word. Such has turned out to be so with respect to the issue of drying.
In my previous missive about Loss-On drying, we discussed Vapor Pressure -- because logically it was next. As we continue to explore moisture, we learn how vital vapor pressure is when regarding the quirky issues of free and bound water.