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Is ‘Hydroscopic’ A Word? What Is The Difference Between Hydroscopic And Hygroscopic? (Deep Dive)

Is ‘Hydroscopic’ A Word? What Is The Difference Between Hydroscopic And Hygroscopic? (Deep Dive)

When it comes to hydroscopic and hygroscopic, people use both words interchangeably. It happens because not everyone is aware of the difference between the two.

The word ‘hydroscopic’ is not familiar these days. And you find no results when searching this on Google. In other words, there’s no such term as ‘hydroscopic’. Though the relevant word ‘hydroscope‘ is a tool used to observe underwater objects.

On the other hand, the word ‘hygroscopic’ refers to a tool that is used to measure the humidity of the atmosphere. A hygroscope measures the humidity levels of any given environment. Overall, it used to be a great helping hand to take the readings of any atmospheric conditions. 

This is a short introduction to the terms, though you can keep on reading to uncover more interesting facts. 

So, let’s dive into it…


The hydro in ‘hydroscopic’ represents water. A hydroscope is a tool similar to a telescope that observes water. The tool that is used for such a purpose is known as the “water observant”.

It helps you observe underwater objects. On a broader vision, any tool that makes observations of near or far objects would be called a hydroscope.

Several contexts which use this word are as follows: microbiology, ecology, and hydrobiology. 


The word ‘hygroscopic’ is unknown to many, and the reason is that the word is almost outdated. But its actual meaning is any material or substance that has the ability to absorb water.

A hygroscope is made with a hygroscopic material. The main use of this tool is that it measures the amount of water vapor present in our homes or offices. Also, to measure the humidity in the air, the hygroscope has been proven to be useful.


This tool, in fact, works in the same way as a thermometer. Only it helps to measure humidity and while a thermometer measures temperature.

This measuring tool has been in use for several years and it continues to be used as a means to check humidity. Though there are way better options available in the market because of advancements in science. 

If you’re looking for the most accurate results from a hygrometer, you should choose the digital one over the analog.  

It also helps you determine whether there are any problems with your heating systems or cooling systems. Additionally, it tells you if they fail to work properly due to low or high levels of humidity in the air causing problems with ventilation systems. 

What Does A Hygrometer Look Like?

You can see a variety of hygrometers. It is a simple instrument that uses a sensor to detect changes in the moisture content of the atmosphere.

The sensor can be either wet or dry paper, or it can also be a glass tube filled with water. The hygroscopic tool has been around for many years, and it has been used by scientists and engineers for many years as well.

The main difference between vintage and the latest hygrometers is how they work and look. The classic hydrometer looks like a clock.

This type of hygrometer is inexpensive and gives inaccurate results. The needle moves according to the humidity levels in the air.

Hygroscopic Materials

Hygroscopic materials are materials that absorb water from the air.

The materials that are hygroscopic fall into two categories:

The first category includes substances that contain water in their molecular structure. These substances include many naturally occurring substances, such as wood and cotton. Cosmetics, mouthwash, and perfumes often contain glycerin, a substance that is hygroscopic.

The other category includes substances that do not contain water in their molecular structure but have properties similar to water. Examples include salt and sugar.

Hygroscopic Materials

Other Examples

Examples of hygroscopic substances include the following:

  • Water-soluble paper
  • Salt and sugar crystals
  • Cellophane
  • Plastic film
  • Silk fabric
Sugar cubes
Hygroscopic Sugar

Many substances, including salts, sugars, and some organic compounds, are hygroscopic. Many foods are also hygroscopic, such as raisins or grapes.

What Is A Hygroscopic Liquid?

A liquid that actively absorbs moisture from the air is known as a hygroscopic liquid.

Usually, any substance that is hygroscopic contains cellulose fibers which makes it an absorbing substance. Examples of hygroscopic liquids include glycerol, caramel, methanol, etc.

Is Honey Hygroscopic?

Honey is a hygroscopic liquid.

It has a high susceptibility to absorbing moisture and may have a chance to ferment. Therefore, during honey production and storage, protection from moisture is a key task to ensure high-quality products.

What Is A Hygroscopic Solid?

Like a hygroscopic liquid, a solid substance with moisture-absorbing qualities is known as a hygroscopic solid. Examples of hygroscopic solids include fertilizers, salts, cotton, and paper, etc.

Wood As A Hygroscopic Material

Is Wood Hygroscopic?

Wood is a highly hygroscopic material. It takes on moisture from the atmosphere.

This ability of wood increases when there is a humid environment surrounding it. The wood, which has absorbed moisture from the air looks a little swollen and there are gaps between its rings.

Plus, its texture feels foamy to the touch, whereas dry wood is coarse and firm to the touch.

Hygroscopic vs. Deliquescent

If you’re confused about the difference between the terms hygroscopic and deliquescent, this table might help clear your doubts.

Hygroscopic Deliquescent 
It absorbs moisture from the air and becomes thick and heavy. Deliquescent, on the other hand, does the same thing. Unlike a hygroscope, in contact with moisture, it becomes water. 
Sugar, salt, and cellulose fiber are a few examples of hygroscopic. Sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrate, and ammonium chloride are a few examples of deliquescent. 
Hygroscopic vs. Deliquescent


  • Hydroscopic is a word that many are unfamiliar with.
  • As it is evident from the name, the hydroscope tool helps you see underwater objects.
  • Interestingly, hygroscopic is another uncommon word. 
  • As you probably know, it’s necessary to check the moisture in the room for different purposes. Cake making is one of them.
  • This is exactly when a hygroscope tool comes into play. 

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