Moisture meters measure the percentage of water in any given substance. We need to determine the moisture content in a material so that when one wants to use the material – one knows if it is wet, dry or ready to use or if there is any further need to research or determine if the moisture is present.
This study happens mostly for the materials that are responsive to moisture like material made out of wood or the wood itself. The physical properties of paper changes as it is made of wood and is sensitive to moisture – therefore require moisture meter to determine its moisture content. When we say physical properties – we mean – dimensions or strength of the paper.
In this world we often see millions of trees cut for multiple uses like furniture, automobiles, artifacts, building material, household goods, paper, etc. When wooden logs are freshly cut they contain 80% that is based on the kind of wood that can be determined by a moisture meter. Wood is known to shrink, split or twist as and when it dries. Therefore, wood is commonly dried before it is used.
The drying process is carried out using a kiln or an air drying method. The kiln drying process requires monitoring the moisture using a moisture meter. Once the industry or worker who is using the wood knows through the moisture meter how much moisture is present in the wood he can decide easily of the wood is ready to be used for the intended purpose. People who use the moisture meter most are Building inspectors, carpenters, Hobbyists for various reasons for using wood.
For instance, wood flooring installers have to determine the MC (Moisture Content) of the wood is matches the relative humidity in the air present in the building. If one is careless and tends to skip this test a huge number of problems occur that cause nightmare to the people using this wood floor. The problems that can occur are: cracked finishes, cracking, crowning, buckling, sunken joints, cupping.
Thus we know that shrinking is not the only dimensional change that occurs in wood if the moisture meter is not used to determine the MC. As the degree of MC varies the wood shape distorts for instance – warping, twisting, cupping occur due to difference in the degree of dimensional change in wood cells that are perpendicular versus radial wood cells.
The percentage of shrinkage varies from wood species to wood species. This difference between the radial and tangential shrinkage is also dependent on the species of the wood. The shrinkage is directly related to the MC and we can check it through Moisture Meter. Wood that contain a lower ratio of tangential shrinkage to radial shrinkage are mahogany and teak – are sturdier because they are less prone to distortion that is caused by changes in MC as compared to woods with high ratio such as the eastern pine and some species of oak. The wood species that have low and overall shrinkage as well as a low tangential/radial shrinkage ratio are long lasting, stable and stronger and will be better in reacting to changes in MC.
Therefore life without a moisture meter is unimaginable in today’s day and age unlike the olden days when experts would just look at the wood texture and color to determine the MC.