Suitability of time domain reflectometry for monitoring moisture in building materials

Mark C. Phillipson, Paul H. Baker, M. Davies, Z. Ye, Graham H. Galbraith, R. Craig McLean

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) has been used since the 1980s for measuring the moisture content of soils. The principle of TDR is based on measuring the reflection time of an electromagnetic signal sent down a set of waveguides that are inserted into the material. This paper reports research work examining the suitability of TDR for measuring the moisture content of building materials. Results suggest that TDR is an effective way of monitoring relative changes in the moisture content. Measurement of absolute moisture content is more complicated as it requires a calibration function, and the existing empirical relationships used in the soil sciences consistently overestimate the moisture content. A semi-empirical calibration relationship has been found to offer a better approach to absolute moisture content evaluation with TDR.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)261-272
    Number of pages12
    JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


    • moisture content
    • building materials
    • environmental science


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