|The whirling hygrometer or
sling psychrometer consists of two thermometers mounted on the a frame
that can be whirled in the air by hand. The bulb of one thermometer is
covered with a tight-fitting muslin sack and wetted with water. This thermometer
is known as the wet-bulb thermometer. The other is the dry-bulb thermometer.
The psychrometer is whirled to force air past the bulbs. The dry bulb indicates
the temperature of the air. The wet bulb helps determine the relative humidity.
When the sling psychrometer whirls through the air, water from the muslin evaporates. The evaporating water cools the wet bulb. The amount of cooling that occurs depends on the relative humidity. The lower the humidity, the faster the water in the muslin will evaporate, and the more the bulb will cool. High humidity will cause less evaporation, slowing the cooling process.
In air that has less than 100 per cent relative humidity, the wet bulb will record a lower temperature than the dry bulb. This difference in temperature is known as wet-bulb depression. A special chart is used to convert the wet-bulb depression to relative humidity or the relative humidity can be determined by correlating the readings with those on a simple slide rule, which is supplied with each instrument.