then dividing by the oven-dry weight,
and multiplying by 100.
The simpler and faster way to mea-
sure wood’s moisture content is to use
a handheld moisture meter — either a
resistance or dielectric meter.
The resistance moisture meter
inserts electrodes (or “pins”) into the
wood and measures the electrical
resistance between the two pins. Since
moisture conducts electricity, increas-
ing electrical resistance between the
pins indicates the wood is dryer than
with a lower resistance. Pin meters typi-
cally convert the resistance measured
into a moisture content percentage. A
downside of this method is pins must
be inserted into the wood and they
can only measure MC within a limited
range, usually 7 to 30%.
In contrast, a dielectric moisture
meter doesn’t require physical intrusion
into the wood. These pinless moisture
meters use flat plate electrodes that are
placed on the surface to detect conductivity within the wood using electromagnetic waves. A pinless meter makes
moisture measurement faster, is 100%
non-intrusive, and can be designed
for measurement at specific depths. A
pinless moisture meter also can provide
a broader range of moisture content
measurements, from 4. 5 to 32%.
Technology also is available to facili-
tate measurement at specified depths
within the wood, so that readings are
virtually unaffected by surface moisture.
Another advance in pinless technology is
the ability to do true in-field calibration
of the meters.
Regardless of the method, knowing
how wood dries is as essential as knowing
the actual moisture content. With this
understanding of the dynamics, one is
better prepared to make good decisions
about wood’s readiness for use.
Source: Jason Spangler is the flooring division
manager for Wagner Meters and has more
than 25 years’ experience across a broad
spectrum of industries. For information call
800-505-1406 or visit WagnerMeters.com.
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