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Moisture probes must meet diverse requirements for the deployment in sand, gravel, and fresh concrete within the construction industry.
The accordance with norm-conformity at the production of ready-mixed concrete, SCC and other types of concrete is increasingly gaining
in significance. Hereby, the concrete expert is frequently confronted with the question, if and how these requirements can be met. The
following elaborations represent an article addressing the advantages of moisture probes based on the TDR radar technology.
Author: Kurt Koehler, Managing Director of the IMKO GmbH

The extreme ambient conditions in the construction industry are
demanding consistently higher to the measuring technology. With the
achievement of an accuracy of ±1 picoseconds at the measurement of
within the construction industry. The TDR measurement principle (TimeDomain-Reflectometry, also referred to as „cable radar“) has managed

to increasingly assert itself for demanding applications as a new and
precise measurement method within the industrial sector. At the TDR
method, the dielectricity constant of an electro-magnetic impulse, and
consequently the moisture, is determined via the run-time (time domain
reflectometry).

Why is it so important to measure the moisture in sand, gravel,
fresh concrete, and other materials very precisely, i.e. with
accuracies of at least ±0.3%, respectively ±0.1%?
The following simple exemplary calculation intends to illustrate the
connection between %-moisture values delivered by a moisture probe
which features errors and the respectively connected effects upon the
w/c value:
The example applies to 1 m3 of ready mixed concrete consisting of:

Aggregates
Sand
Gravel (2..16)

: 1850kg in total
: 700kg
: 1150kg

Cement
Water content
(nominal value)
Nominal w/c-value

: 320kg
: 176 Litres
: 0.55

At a medium moisture content of 5% in the aggregates, this results in
a water content in the aggregates of 97 litres. At a nominal/target value
of 176 litres per m3, this would result in 79 litres which would have to be
added to obtain a correct w/c nominal value of 0.55 at a cement content
of 320 kg.
If a moisture probe measures at an error rate of ±1.5% absolute, this
would result in significant deviations at the w/c content. In the event of
a deviation of the moisture measurement value in downward direction,
one would be issued a w/c value of 0.64, and 0.45 in case of a deviation
in upward direction (remark: this would naturally be noticed immediately
and according measures would be taken). At an error rate of the probe of
±0.3% (±6 litres/m3), depending on the demands made to the concrete,
this could result in still acceptable deviations of the w/c value of ±0.02, i.e.
the final w/c value would either be 0.57 or 0.53.
An error rate of ±1.5% of a moisture probe is equivalent to a difference of
±30 litres at the water content in sand and gravel, which would considerably
influence the w/c value and the Exposition Class. A moisture probe must
at least feature an accuracy of ±0.3%, preferably even ±0.1%.
The cause and how easily measurement errors of ±1.5% in a moisture