Determining Water Content of Food Products with Infrared Radiation

Featuring a high-resolution converter and an intuitive operation panel with a 5” color touch screen display, the moisture analyzer of MA 50.X2.A series is a modern device designed for use in determining the water content of various products. An automatic system of opening and closing the drying chamber's lid is offered by the MA.X2.A series.

This enables a simple operation using proximity sensors or an on-screen button. A convenient user interface guarantees ergonomics of operation along with quick access keys (hot-Key), info fields and labels.

Free configuration of the operation panel is allowed with these programmable elements. Using the databases listed below, it is possible to carry out the drying process for any temperature value, and to assign the drying process with a particular product.

  • Operators (100 records maximum)
  • Products (5000 records maximum)
  • Customers (100 records maximum)
  • Measurements (50,000 records maximum)
  • Packaging (100 records maximum)
  • Drying programs (200 records maximum)
  • Drying process reports (5000 records maximum)
  • Ambient conditions (10,000 records maximum)

Functionality of MA 50.X2.A moisture analyzer.

Figure 1. Functionality of MA 50.X2.A moisture analyzer. Image Credit: Radwag Balances & Scales

Fast transfer and copying of results, such as measurements, reports and databases, to a computer or other moisture analyzer are enabled through the use of a USB interface. Remote access to the balance and its databases allows data management to be carried out online. External data management is enabled through integration with an E2R computer system, which maximizes productivity and throughput.

Employing Radwag-Manufactured Moisture Analyzers

The differential method was used to determine the water content in tested products, i.e. the difference between mass of a wet product and mass of a dry product. Product mass changes were continuously analyzed in a drying chamber. This characteristic feature of methods enabled with Radwag-manufactured moisture analyzers provides results within a relatively short time. A diagram of MA 50.X2.A moisture analyzer manufactured by Radwag Wagi Elektroniczne, Poland, is presented in Figure 2.

Diagram of MA 50.X2.A moisture analyser; own work.

Figure 2. Diagram of MA 50.X2.A moisture analyser; own work. Image Credit: Radwag Balances & Scales

An electromagnetic converter of mass guarantees precise measurement of analyzed product mass (1). In accordance with the following equation, measurement of the product mass can be realized:

F = mg

m – product mass
g – on-site gravitational acceleration

Data processing systems operating in accordance with a unique algorithm developed by Radwag engineers are used to analyze product mass change during heating. Fast and precise analyses of the measuring signal can be carried out and any potential signal disturbances that can occur during product mass measurement are eliminated. This means that the measurement of mass is always accurate and precision is always ensured when it comes to water content analysis.

The drying chamber is where water contained within product structure is isolated and determined through an increase in product temperature. There is a weighing pan inside the chamber (2) that is permanently fixed to the measuring converter (1). During production, the moisture analyzer is calibrated using mass standards and traceability is accounted for. This enables the gravitational force to be linked with the 1 kg mass standard. All of the above means that when the product is placed (3) on the weighing pan (2), it is possible to show the gravitational force (F = mg) on a moisture analyzer display as a weighing result expressed in gram.

A precisely controlled heat source, (4) is used to increase product temperature (3). This is built into the top part of the drying chamber. With moisture analyzers of MA.X2.A series, the target drying temperature is obtained within the whole space of the drying chamber. Convection and IR radiation allow heat to be supplied to the analyzed product. Drying of products performed using IR radiation may be possible for a wide wavelength range, from 0.78 μm to 1000 μm, according to the authors (Kathiravan, Khurana, Jun, Irudayaraj and Demirci 2008; Nowak 2005). However, it must be stated that food products most effectively absorb IR radiation when the wavelength ranges between 3 mm and 6 mm (Figure 3).

Absorption of radiation by food product.

Figure 3. Absorption of radiation by food product. Image Credit: Radwag Balances & Scales

The IR radiator temperature strictly conditions the IR radiation wavelength emitted by the infrared radiator (Riadh, Ahmad, Marhaban 2015). A proprietary algorithm for control of the heat source was implemented in Radwag moisture analyzers in relation to this. Great stability of temperature for product analysis is enabled through this solution. The heat source emits IR radiation of the wavelength of ca. 3 mm in standard models of MA.X2.A moisture analyzers. This results in fast and effective product drying.

Information about the current drying temperature value is sent to the system controlling the heat source by a temperature sensor (5) installed in the top part of the drying chamber. A thermally stable environment for the product is maintained due to this sensor. The temperature of the analyzed product increases over time, mainly as a result of absorption of radiation (Togrul 2006; Ertekin and in. 2014). According to the authors (Ratti, Mujumdar 2006; Adak, Heybeli and Ertekin 2017), the speed and effectiveness of the drying process depend on the length of emitted infrared radiation wavelength and on the product's ability to absorb the radiation.

The display of MA 50.X2.A presents the value of tested product's water content in the form of a result or graph (drying curve). The moisture analyzer's program automatically calculates water content (dry mass content) in the product using the following equations:


%M – water content (relative humidity)
% D – dry mass content (absolute humidity)
m1 – wet product mass, prior analysis start
m2 – dry product mass, upon analysis completion


Water content determined through the use of the microwave method required a shorter analysis time in comparison to the infrared radiation method. In the case of margarine, the analysis was five times shorter. It was four times shorter for yogurt and milk, 2.5 times shorter for creamy quark and two times shorter for vanilla quark.

The possibility of further optimization of testing methods, in terms of drying parameters and product preparation procedures, was proven through analysis of accuracy of water content determination. In terms of a microwave moisture analyzer, the drying process could be shortened, while still maintaining acceptable accuracy and precision of measurements.

The MA 50.X2.A moisture analyzer is likely to provide optimization of this drying process through the use of different infrared radiation wavelengths. The PMV 50 moisture analyzer is recommended for drying due to its high speed making it the preferable device for quickly determining water content.


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2. Al-Harahsheh M., A.H. Al-Muhtaseb, T.R.A. Magee. 2009. ,,Microwave drying kinetics of tomato pomace: Effect of osmotic dehydration”. Chemical Engineering and Processing  48 : 524–531.

3. Bradley R.L. Jr. 2010. ,,Moisture and total solids analysis”. In Food Analysis, Springer US, 85-104.

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Last updated: Nov 29, 2019 at 9:53 AM


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