Popcorn Moisture


The optimum bulk moisture content for maximum expansion of popcorn has been reported by Metzger et all (1989) as 13.5% for oil popping and 14% for air popping. Smaller kernels require more moisture to achieve maximum expansion. Whether drying the kernels, sorting by colors, measuring temperature, or spraying with oil and flavorings

MoistTech can accurately and instantly give you non-contact measurements of not only oil, but also moisture, temperature, fat, sugar, seasonings, protein, and more. Uniformity of spray or oil deposition can be monitored and adjusted either manually or automatically.

With more than 40 years of experience, MoistTech has developed one of our most accurate moisture sensors, the IR-3000 moisture sensor. It is ideally suited to measure popcorn during the drying and manufacturing process. The sensor is coated in a food grade Teflon with a polymeric viewing window enabling manufacturers to improve product quality without any contamination.


The sensor should be installed several inches above the belt or screw conveyor so that a production worker can continuously monitor the process and can control the moisture content either manually or automatically in the finished product. After an oil spray, it is important to install the sensor at an angle to cut down any reflection from the oil coating.


If the popcorn moisture sensor has to be installed where it will be susceptible to extreme heat conditions, it is necessary to cool the sensor with either air or water. Furthermore, if the sensor is located near an oil spray, it is necessary to clean the sensor’s optical window during regular routine cleaning.

MoistTech is very experienced with the requirements in the production of popcorn and snack foods. Our sensor calibrations, measurement wavelengths, algorithms and sensor optical requirements are pre-set at the factory. Typical accuracy is about ±0.1% moisture. Typical analog range is 0-10% moisture. The outputs can be adjusted to optimize PLC or recording requirements.

Take a look at our other food moisture sensor applications.

Contact our customer service representatives for further information about your application and the best installation practices for your equipment.