Hygroscopic - What does hygroscopic mean?
A property of materials and substances that causes them to attract and hold water molecules from their environment, either through absorption (a mass of water is taken into the material) or adsorption (water molecules adhere to the surface of the material). Hydroscopic materials take in or release water in order to reach equilibrium with the humidity of their environment. Various properties of the material may be altered by the presence of water molecules between its own molecules; it could change in size, or, if there is a difference in the moisture content of the two sides of a material, the material may curl. Paper is hygroscopic as are a variety of other materials including some salts and polymers.Go Back to Glossary