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Technical Information for Manufacturers

Physical characteristics of Honey

Colour: As per Pfund Grader:

Water White:
Extra White:
Extra Light Amber:
Light Amber:
Dark Amber:

0 - 9mm
9 - 19mm
20 - 34mm
45 - 50mm
51 - 85mm
86 - 114mm
> 114mm


Specific Gravity: Dependent on Water content:
15.0% moisture @ 20°C 1.423 approx.
18.0% moisture @ 20°C 1.417 approx.
*** Floral source can also affect Specific Gravity

Temperature and moisture content are the main determinants of viscosity. Viscosity of Honey decreases rapidly as the temperature rises. A change of 1% moisture is equivalent to about 3.5°C in its effect on viscosity. Nectar source will also have an impact on viscosity. In most cases this is minor but in the case of thixotropic honeys (for example manuka), this may be greater.

Some typical values for clover honey

At 16% moisture

600 poise
190 poise
65 poise
20 poise
10 poise
3 poise
Viscosity of honey related to temperature
At 25°C
13.7% moisture
14.2% moisture
15.5% moisture
17.1% moisture
18.2% moisture
19.1% moisture
20.2% moisture
21.5% moisture

420 poise
270 poise
138 poise
70 poise
48 poise
35 poise
20 poise
14 poise

Viscosity of honey related to moisture content

Honey will reach an equilibrium of moisture content depending on the relative humidity, and will generally speaking absorb moisture from the air until that equilibrium is reached. This may make the honey more susceptible to fermentation.

Also this characteristic may be of interest in food preparations containing honey, where the tendency to stay moist may be an advantage, or a disadvantage depending on the finished product.

The composition of the two main sugars in honey (glucose and fructose) will affect the hygroscopicity (fructose being the main hygroscopic component) and these are in turn a function of honey source.
  Hygroscopicity of Honey

The two major sugars in honey (glucose and fructose) are the main factor in determining the tendency for a honey to crystallize. Water content also plays a part. Generally the higher the glucose, the faster honey crystallizes and the higher the fructose, the slower it crystallizes.

Three formulas have been proposed for prediction of crystallization tendency.

1. Glucose / Water.
2. Fructose / Glucose
3. (Glucose-Water) / Fructose
< 1.7 stays liquid
> 1.64 stays liquid
< 0.27 stays liquid

> 2.1 will crystallize
< 1.25 will crystallize
> 0.42 will crystallize

Other factors can also play a part in crystallization that may affect the above formulas' ability to accurately predict crystallization tendency. These include higher molecular weight sugars (oligosaccharides), acidity and Available Water.

Specific Heat:
Liquid Honey: 0.54 - 0.60 (higher moisture content = higher SH value) Creamed Honey: up to 0.73

Thermal Conductivity:
from 118 X 10-5 to 143 X 10-5 cal/cm sec°C

Colloidal Properties:
Isoelectric point: 4.30

pH Balance:

Freezing Point:
15% solution from -1.43 to -1.53° C
68% solution -12.01°C

Water Activity:
0.5 - 0.6 AW

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