# Water Content of Soil Test By Oven Drying Method

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## What Is the Water Content of Soil?

The water content of the soil is defined as the percentage of water present in soil mass by its weight. Water content data is required for the majority of soil parameter calculations.

w = weight of dry soil

Water content is usually expressed in percent.

For better results, the minimum size of most soil specimens should be approximate as given in Table -1. These data constitute ASTM Test Designation D-2216.

IS Code For Water Content of Soil: IS 2720-2 (1973)

## Equipment For Moisture Content of Soil Test

#### 1. Moisture can(s)

Moisture cans are available in various sizes [for example, 2-in. (50.S mm) diameter and % in. (22.2 mm) high, 3.5-in. (S8.9 mm) diameter, and 2 in. (50.S mm) high).

#### 2. Oven with Temperature Control

For drying of soil, the temperature of the oven is kept between 105Â°C to 110Â°C. A higher temperature in the oven should be avoided by the burning of organic matter in the soil.

#### 3. Balance

The weight balance should have an accuracy of 0.01 gm for specimens having a mass of 200 g or less.

## Moisture Content Test Procedure

The procedure for the Water Content of the Soil test is given below,

1. Find out the weight empty container (W1) and also record the number.

2. Take a representative sample of soil in the container. Close the container with its cap to avoid loss of moisture.

3. Take the weight of the combined mass (g) of the closed container and moist soil (W2).

4. Remove the cap from the top of the can and place it on the bottom (of the can).

5. Put the container (Step 4) in the oven to dry the soil to a constant weight. In most cases, 24 hours of drying is enough.

6. Determine the combined mass (g) of the dry soil sample plus the can and its cap (W3).

### Calculating Water Content

1. Mass or Weight of Moisture = W2 – W3

2. Weight of dry soil = W3 – W1

3. Water Content =

W (%) = (W2 – W3) * 100 ) x W3- W1

Calculate water to an accuracy of 0.1 % as appropriate based on the size of the specimen.

A sample representative calculation is given in table â€“ 2,

Description of Soil=

Sample No=

Location=

Tested by =

Date of Test =

## Observation Table

Take Average of above three results =(16.2 + 16.0 + 16.5)/3 = 16.23 %

Moisture Content Formula, w (%)= (W2 – W3) * 100 /Â (W3 – W1) Â

The Final Water Content of the Soil is 16.23%

### Important Notes

Most natural soils, which have gravel and are sandy in nature, may have water contents up to about 15 to 20%.

In natural silty or clayed soil water content can be found about 50 to 80% can be found. However, in highly organic soil and peat with water contents up to about 500% is not uncommon.

Different organic soil particles get decompose during oven drying at 110Â°C. An oven heating temperature of 110Â° may be too high for soils containing gypsum, as this material slowly dehydrates.

As per ASTM, a drying temperature of 60Â°C is more appropriate for such soils.

It is recommended the Cooling the dry soil after oven drying (Step 5) in a desiccator. It helps to prevent the absorption of moisture from the atmosphere.

## FAQ:

### What Is the Water Content of Soil?

The water content of the soil is defined as the percentage of water present in soil mass by its weight. Water content data is required for the majority of soil parameter calculations.

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