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My son is doing a science experiment on which color of shirt dries the fastest - black, red, blue, white. Of course he hypothesized that the black shirt would dry the fastest. He also got many helpful info regarding his topic on your wonderful site.BUT, he really have to perform the procedure and test by measuring the amount of moisture on all shirts when left outside to dry. What would be the best way to measure the amount of moisture? He thought about getting a soil or wood/humidity meter but he is not sure if that would work, he plans on sticking it to the fabric, wrapping it around, but it might not give an accurate reading. He did further research and came across a portable moisture meter that is industrial grade and is used in the textile industry (this would really work because the device has a ring that can be gently rubbed on the cloth and has an indicator if its wet or dry) but the $$$$ is way out of reach---starts at $1200! So he saw your site and is asking for your help on other ways to measure the moisture content of a 100% cotton shirt. Thanks in advance for your help.
Question Date: 2016-04-04
Answer 1:

Wonderful experiment and a good question.

I would suggest using a kitchen weighing scale. More accurate the better. Weigh each shirt three times: (1) before soaking, (2) right after soaking, but make sure it is not dripping wet (we want to accurately measure evaporated water), and (3) several measurements while the shirt is out in the sun. From the weight difference between each step you will be able to calculate accurately the moisture content by weight. If needed in terms of volume, use the value for the density of water (1000 kg/m3) to convert.

You can take extra care to be accurate by also measuring the weight of the bucket of water into which the shirt soaked; the decrease in bucket’s weight should be the increase in shirt’s weight, if no spilling occurs.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your wonderful experiment and let me know if it worked.


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