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What Is Specific Gravity of Soil
The Specific Gravity of Soil is defined as the ratio of the weight of a given volume of the material to the weight of an equal volume of distilled water.
It is an important parameter in soil mechanics for the calculation of the weight-volume relationship.
This specific gravity, G” is defined as
Gs = Unit weight (or density) of soil sample only / Unit weight (or density) or water
The general values for specific gravity for different soils are given in Table -1. This method of determining the specific gravity of soil given here is applicable for soils composed of particles smaller than 4.75 mm (No.4 U.S. sieve) in size.
General Specific Gravity of Soil Range for Various Soils
The Specific gravity of soil generally ranges from 2.60 to 2.90. Organic matter and porous particles may have specific gravity values below 2.0 and Soil which has heavy substances or particles may have values above 3.0.
Soil Type | Range of GS |
Sand | 2.63 – 2.67 |
Silts | 2.65 – 2.7 |
Clay and Silty Clay | 2.67 – 2.9 |
Organic Soil | Less than 2 |
Read More: Water Content of Soil Test – Procedure, Result & Report
Determination of Specific Gravity Test of Soil
Specific Gravity Test of Soil IS Code: IS 2720-3-2 (1980)
Apparatus
- Specific gravity bottle (500 ml).
- Thermometer graduated in O.soC division scale
- Balance sensitive up to 0.01 g
- Distilled water
- A vacuum pump or aspirator)
- Evaporating dishes
- Spatula
- Plastic squeeze bottle
- Drying oven
The equipment for this experiment is shown in Fig. 3-1.
Specific Gravity Test Procedure
- Clean the specific gravity bottle well and dry it.
- Carefully fill the bottles with de-aired, distilled water up to the 500 ml mark.
- Determine the weight of the bottle and the water filled to the 500 ml mark (W1).
- Insert the thermometer into the bottle with the water and determine the temperature of the water T = T1 ºC.
- Fill approx 100gm of dry soil into an evaporating dish.
- In the case of cohesive soil, add water (de-aired and distilled) to the soil and mix it into the form of a smooth paste. Keep it soaked for about 1 hour at least in the evaporating dish.
- Now, Fill this soil (if granular) or the soil paste (if cohesive) into the volumetric specific gravity bottle.
- Add distilled water to the gravity bottle containing the soil (or the soil paste) to make it about two-thirds full.
- Remove excess air from the soil-water mixture. This can be done by:
- Gently boiling the specific gravity bottle containing the soil-water mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes. Accompany the boiling with continuous agitation of the flask. (Don’t use high flame otherwise, the soil may boil over.)
- The second option is to vacuum by a vacuum pump or aspirator until all of the entrapped air is out.
- This is the most important step for testing. If this entrapped air is not removed completely it can cause a result error.
- Bring the temperature of the soil-water mixture in the Bottle down to room temperature, i.e T1 ºC seen in Step 4. (This temperature of the water is at room temperature.)
- Now fill the distilled water into the bottle until the bottom of the meniscus touches the 500 ml mark. Also, clean the top and side of the bottle and remove any excess water.
- Find out the combined weight of the bottle + Soil + Water as (W2).
- Just as a precaution, check the temperature of the soil and water in the flask to see if it’s T1± 1 ºC or not.
- Empty Soil and water in an evaporating dish. Clean the bottle such that no soil particles are left on the side.
- Transfer evaporating dish into the oven to dry to a constant weight.
- Find out the mass of the dry soil in the evaporating dish (Ws).
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Specific Gravity of Soil Formula
The specific gravity of soil can be calculated by using the following formula,
G = Mass of soil / Mass of equal volume of water
Calculation Of Specific Gravity Of Soil Sample
Calculate the specific gravity
G = Mass of soil / Mass of equal volume of water
Where,
Mass of Soil = Ws
Mass of the same volume of water, Ww = (W1 + Ws) – W2
Gs (T1 º C) = Ws / Ww
Specific Gravity of Soil at Various Temperature
Temperature (T1º C) | A | Temperature (T1º C) | A |
16 | 1.0007 | 24 | 0.9991 |
17 | 1.0006 | 25 | 0.9988 |
18 | 1.0004 | 26 | 0.9986 |
19 | 1.0002 | 27 | 0.9983 |
20 | 1.0000 | 28 | 0.9980 |
21 | 0.9998 | 29 | 0.9977 |
22 | 0.9996 | 30 | 0.9974 |
23 | 0.9993 |
For more accurate results it is recommended to conduct tests 3 times on the same soil sample. Take an average of 3 values these values should not vary by more than 2 to 3%.
A sample calculation for the Specific Gravity of Soil is shown in the table given below:
Detail of soil: Light brown sandy Silt
The volume of the Bottle: 500 ml.
The temperature of the test: is 23 ºC.
Water Density (23ºC) = 0.9993 (Table-3) .
Description | Sample – 1 | Sample – 1 | Sample – 1 |
Mass of Bottle + Water Filled, (W1) (g) | 666.0 | 674.0 | 652.0 |
Mass of Bottle +soil + Water, (W2) (g) | 722.0 | 738.3 | 709.93 |
Mass of dry Soil, Ws (g) | 99.00 | 103.0 | 72.0 |
Mass of equal volume of water as the soil sample Ww (g) = (W1 + Ws) – W2 | 37.00 | 38.7 | 34.07 |
Specific Gravity of Soil (G) = Ws / Ww | 2.68 | 2.66 | 2.70 |
Average Value | 2.68 |
From the above table, we can say that the specific gravity of the soil sample is 2.68.
(Note: Specific gravity of any element is unit less parameter)
Specific Gravity of Soil Lab Report Discussion
FAQs:
Specific Gravity of Soil Definition
The Soil Specific Gravity is defined as the ratio of the weight of a given volume of the material to the weight of an equal volume of distilled water.
Specific Gravity of Soil
The Soil Specific Gravity is defined as the ratio of the weight of a given volume of the material to the weight of an equal volume of distilled water. It is denoted by “G”. It is an important parameter in soil mechanics for the calculation of the weight-volume relationship.
Specific Gravity of Soil Formula
The specific gravity of soil can be calculated by using the following formula,
G = Mass of soil / Mass of equal volume of water
Where,
Mass of Soil = Ws
Mass of the same volume of water, Ww = (W1 + Ws) – W2
Gs (T1 º C) = Ws / Ww
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