The DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s (DOST-FPRDI) moisture meter for bamboo is now out in the market.
The device was developed in collaboration with DOST- Advanced Science and Technology Institute and YONGDEN Technology, and was funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).
The FPRDI moisture meter is a handheld device that reads the amount of water present in non-timber products. It is especially calibrated for several bamboo species that are extensively planted in the country and are used for engineered bamboo. These include Kawayan Tinik (Bambusa blumeana J. A. & J. H. Schultes.); Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper (Schultes f.) Backer ex Heyne); and Botong (Dendrocalamus latiflorus Munro).
It is also calibrated to read the moisture content (MC) of bakbak (or the outermost covering or leaf sheath of abaca stalk) and vines.
“Knowing the moisture content is crucial in maintaining the quality of bamboo products. Raw materials must have the same moisture content prior to gluing and finishing to ensure that the final product will not crack or split,” explained project leader Dr. Marina A. Alipon.
Stressing the importance of determining the right MC to lessen the chances of insect or fungus attack, Alipon also underscored the need to maintain the moisture level of products bound for export.
“For exported local bamboo products to perform well, their MC must approximate those prevailing in the country of destination, otherwise the material will distort, shrink, or crack while in service. The fastest and most convenient way to determine the MC is thru the use of a moisture meter,” she added.
The DOST-FPRDI moisture meter for bamboo was built using local spare parts and is cheaper than imported counterparts as it only costs Php 6,500 per unit. The first in the Philippines, it was designed following the Institute’s digital wood moisture meter.