Dictionary > Moisture content

Moisture content

Definition
noun
The weight of the water contained in an object or material, usually expressed as a percentage of weight

Supplement
In biology, the term moisture is associated with the presence of liquid, particularly water. The presence of the liquid though is not very great in amount but only up to a certain degree that renders something wet or damp.

Moisture content (or water content) refers to the weight of the water contained in a certain object or material. It is usually expressed as a percentage of weight. For instance, soil moisture pertains to the water content of the soil. Several methods may be used to determine in situ soil water content, e.g. ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity tomography, neutron probe, time-domain reflectometry, etc.

Moisture content may be expressed as a ratio and may range from zero (0) to the value of the porosity o the material at saturation. Determining water content is applied in different scientific fields. One of them is in agriculture. Water content is an important factor in growing crops. A soil that is too dry leads to the drop in plant transpiration and might lead to a wilting point when the plant would no longer be able to extract water.

Why is this important? When the ambient temperature is high, the body starts to heat up. As a result, the body will attempt to cool off by releasing sweat as a mechanism to achieve the ideal body temperature. The sweat on the skin will evaporate and this brings a cooling effect on the body. However, when the atmosphere has a high moisture content (e.g. during humid weather), the sweat hardly evaporates and the body will remain feeling hot (and sticky). Thus, the body will work even harder by releasing more sweat and raising the respiration rate. If the body will not receive adequate liquids to replenish lost water and chemicals, the body will eventually suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion, or worse heat stroke. To prevent these life-threatening conditions, keeping moisture levels in check is important. Running a dehumidifier can help alleviate high moisture content in the air. (Ref.1) Know more info on managing moisture here.

Abbreviation / Acronym: MC
Synonym(s):

  • water content

See also:

References:

  1. Managing Moisture Factsheet: Maintain Your Vigilance. (2019, October 8). Building Biology Institute. https://buildingbiologyinstitute.org/free-fact-sheets/managing-moisture/

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