Home » Experiments » Make a Hygrometer

Make a Hygrometer


Make your own Hygrometer

Wet and Dry Bulb Thermometers measure relative humidity


◊ Clean, empty 1 pint milk/soup CARTON

◊ 2 small THERMOMETERS (e.g. fish tank/bath)




◊ STRINGA milk cartonBalls of string


1. Punch 2 holes in the top of the carton (where the lid comes together), thread a long piece of string through the holes and tie the ends together to form a loop. This will form a handle for your hygrometer.

2. Cover the bulb of one of the thermometers with the cotton wool ball, tie in place with some string. Soak the cotton wool in water and tape the thermometers to either side of carton.”

3. Go outside and swing the carton around for 1 minute. Quickly look at the temperatures on the two thermometers and write them down.

Find out what your results mean……..


You should find that the ‘wet bulb’ (i.e. with wet cotton wool) thermometer shows a LOWER temperature reading than the ‘dry bulb’.

This is because water evaporating from the cotton wool is cooling the wet bulb thermometer down. The easier it is for water to evaporate, the BIGGER the difference between the two thermometers and the DRIER the air.A hygrometer

You can convert the two readings into a RELATIVE HUMIDITY (amount of moisture in the air as a percentage of that needed to saturate it) by entering your values into this converter.

(note the relative humidity is not very dependent on pressure – if you do not know the air pressure, just enter 1000 hPa). You might sometimes see millibars written instead of hPa – these are equivalent units.

More experiments and demonstrations

Borrow an Instrument

Did you know the Royal Meteorological Society lends instruments to schools free of charge?

More experiments and demonstrations

SOLUBILITY= the property of a solid, liquid or gas to dissolve in another liquid.
Topics: Atmosphere
Make your own Cloud in a Bottle To see how clouds form Equipment A one litre plastic water bottle (with a lid) Warm water
Topics: Clouds
Can you crumple a can? Learn about air pressure
Topics: Air Pressure