RH as it relates to cigar weight


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I'm sure this topic has likely been discussed but when I looked for it, I couldn't seem to find it.  Apologies if this is a beaten horse.

Is there data for how much weight (presumably in terms of water) a cigar picks up by virtue of it being in different relative humidities?  I'm no chemist but I was assuming that a cigar stored, say, at 70% would weigh more than that same cigar stored at 60% for extended periods of time.  But this is an assumption on my part as I have never checked this.

Has anyone taken a particular cigar, desiccated it to some arbitrarily low Rh, then put it for extended periods of time (say 2 months) in humidors with increasing Rh?  Curious if it's really true that higher humidity means the cigar weighs more.  Wondering what the percentage of tobacco is organic matter and how much is just water?  I'm sure this question has of course been asked ad nauseam.  If so, is there linear adsorption for what moisture rests on the surface?  Does higher humidity actually make heavier cigars?  

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just ensure you compare the exact same cigar when dry vs when "wet".

as cigars are all hand rolled, you will never get two cigars with the exact same weight.

they are snowflakes in their own right.

i've read some folks suggest weighing each cigar in a box....and apparently the heaviest cigars could be plugged and the lightest cigars could be wind tunnels...

and I don't believe that to be correct....but who knows.

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The answer is yes. The tobacco “stores” H2O...higher RH=more h2O.

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3 hours ago, Wailbait said:

I'm sure this topic has likely been discussed but when I looked for it, I couldn't seem to find it.  Apologies if this is a beaten horse.

Is there data for how much weight (presumably in terms of water) a cigar picks up by virtue of it being in different relative humidities?  I'm no chemist but I was assuming that a cigar stored, say, at 70% would weigh more than that same cigar stored at 60% for extended periods of time.  But this is an assumption on my part as I have never checked this.

Has anyone taken a particular cigar, desiccated it to some arbitrarily low Rh, then put it for extended periods of time (say 2 months) in humidors with increasing Rh?  Curious if it's really true that higher humidity means the cigar weighs more.  Wondering what the percentage of tobacco is organic matter and how much is just water?  I'm sure this question has of course been asked ad nauseam.  If so, is there linear adsorption for what moisture rests on the surface?  Does higher humidity actually make heavier cigars?  

Great question. In my estimation: a cigar at a higher percent moisture content must have greater mass than that same cigar at lower percent moisture content, all else held constant. Now, accessing instruments that are fine enough to measure the differences is where things may get difficult. Anyone have access to a lab? By the way, I would love to see this study performed. @PigFish, do you have the tools for the job? :)

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16 minutes ago, shlomo said:

Make sure temp is constant. Only way any of the data will be relevant.

Aside from that...why? Is it curiosity or is there a theory or hypothesis floating around somewhere?

I’m asking myself the same questions. What’s the significance of gaining this information?

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12 hours ago, JeffreyLebowski said:

Great question. In my estimation: a cigar at a higher percent moisture content must have greater mass than that same cigar at lower percent moisture content, all else held constant. Now, accessing instruments that are fine enough to measure the differences is where things may get difficult. Anyone have access to a lab? By the way, I would love to see this study performed. @PigFish, do you have the tools for the job? :)

I believe PF cited that cigars are something like 12% by weight? Could be wrong on that—but I think it’s in one of his Youtube videos. I’ll periodically weigh a particular cigar for fun. For instance an 18g cigar that had traveled unhumidified picked up a gram of water when humidified for a month. Cigars from Cuba invariably were overhumidified and lost significant water by weight once held in my humidifier.

Note that to get the actual total water content of Cuban tobacco (which could be different from other tobaccos) you’d have to destroy a number of them by vacuum desiccation or titration.

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On 3/8/2019 at 1:40 AM, Wailbait said:

Does higher humidity actually make heavier cigars?  

Sure it does. It is an effect of the material's hygroscopicity. Holding for all materials, not just tobacco. Simply put, highly hygroscopic materials will gain (adsorb) more, materials with low hygroscopicity will gain less water. Even materials with an extremely low hygroscopicity, such as certain plastics, will adsorp minimum amounts of water. I have yet to hear of a material reacting inversely, i.e.becoming dryer with higher ambient humidity it is subjected to. ;)

14 hours ago, SenorPerfecto said:

Has anyone ever used a humidity probe to determine an individual cigar's RH?

Is being done by certain importers for storage monitoring (....and what I suspect to be responsible for creating those little pig's-snout holes in there, which can cause burn issues at times). But that (conductivity based) method is not an analytical means to accurately determine moisture content of tobacco products.

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For our purpose done easiest and best gravimetrically. But a meaningful question then would not be simply "water content" but "water content in relation to storage-rH and -temperature".

Had been considering doing such for a moment when in one of those threads with Piggy again about the temp-dependence of tobacco equilibrium moisture. But then again, I thought, why invest that labour, and waste all the good sticks for gaining a "scientific" insight into something that everybody already has its own empirics own... :D

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My guess would be that the difference in weight between a few percent rH difference would be less than the natural variation in weight by virtue of being a hand made product. Certainly easy enough to calculate mathematically, but difficult to verify experimentally.

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While many of you might not think so, I am a bit of a pragmatic. I don't really care how "much" water is in a cigar, not from a purely "need to know content level."  I care how it tastes. The taste is always the arbiter of this subject (MHO). Water plays a significant role in that. That is my primary interest.

I started to run experiments to satisfy my curiosity, however the goal was always the 'layman's guide' to storing cigars for taste. As most people have no ability to easily assess moisture content, the exercise just means you can speak authoritatively on the subject, one that is still steeped in anecdotal empirics. As @Fugu says above, the next question then becomes, "Mr. Guru, what is the 'right' number and how do I get it?" We have then come full circle. We have generated spread sheets and data and still don't have any meaningful answers. That makes the problem a curiosity, but one of not much value.

There are a few things you need to know to store cigars. Most people who look at my chart still don't get it. The chart represents a 'relationship.' That it all that it is meant to convey. A proper EMC was never the intent. That is point one. Understand the relationship.

Find a means to control the variables of the relationship. That is point two. You need not spend what I spend for a system to do that. You need not seek the most complex, we each have our needs based on our ambients and desires. Fix that relationship and hold it. Test it. Change it. Understand it. Appreciate it. Keep it there where you like it and be happy.

The last, which I should have probably mentioned first, are the extremes. Understand what will ruin your cigars.

I have weighed thousands of cigars with a precision scale. The object of which was more to determine the quality of the cigar, and secondarily to determine the readiness of a cigar. So, if you have tracked a numbered cigars weight over time, you can attempt to locate its plateau or EM level, NOT actual EMC... mind you, but EM "stability." Equilibrium moisture then being a constant (at your rH and temp) is verified as being stable, yielding you the data that your cigar is ready to smoke. The purpose then? To determine how long one must store a cigar before it is ready to smoke at one's preferred EMC.

EMC then is something I don't need to know. I just need to know how it is derived, a combination of rH and temp (years of beating the community to accept) a true plateau (stable EMC) and judge by taste.

If you want to know true EMC, you need a aW analysis device. These probes as show about do nothing! I know, I have one...!

-the Pig

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