You are on page 1of 10

CE151L – Geotechnical Engineering 1

Laboratory Reports

Laboratory exercise 1:
Water Content
Determination

Anastacio, Jan Nathan A.


Cuevas, John Rey D.
Fetizanan, Ronn Xavier F.
Jorda, Jose Enrico L.
Lijauco, Adrian Lance R.
Nery, Mark Jay O.

Engr. Neslyn Lopez


CONTENT

Table of Contents………………………………………………1
Introduction………………………………………………..……2
Objectives……………………………………………………..…3
Equipment……………………………………………………....3
Methodology…………………………………………............4
Data Analysis……………………………………………………5
Data and Result……………………………………..…………5
Sample Computation…………………………………………6
Documentation…….…………………………………….…7-8
Discussion of Results.....…………………………………...8
Conclusions………………………………………………………9
References………………………………………………..…….9

Introduction
1|Page
The water content is the ratio, expressed as a percentage, of the mass of
“pore” or “free” water in a given mass of soil to the mass of the dry soil solids.

Merritt and Ricketts (2001) advocate the view that the water content (also
known as moisture content) test is probably the most common and simplest type
of laboratory test. This test can be performed on disturbed or undisturbed soil
specimens. The water content test consists of determining the mass of the wet
soil specimen and then drying the soil in an oven overnight (12 to 16 hr) at a
temperature of 110°C (ASTM D 2216-92, 1998). The water content (w) of a soil is
defined as the mass of water in the soil (Mw) divided by the dry mass of the soil
(Ms), expressed as a percentage (i.e., w = 100 Mw/Ms).

Values of water content (w) can vary from essentially 0% up to 1200%. A


water content of 0% indicates a dry soil. An example of a dry soil would be near-
surface rubble, gravel, or clean sand located in a hot and dry climate, such as
Death Valley, California. Soil having the highest water content is organic soil, such
as fibrous peat, which has been reported to have water content as high as 1200%.

Verruijt (2006) explains in his book Soil


Mechanics that for very fine soils, such as silt and
clay, the consistency is an important property. It
determines whether the soil can easily be
handled, by soil moving equipment, or by hand.
The consistency is often very much dependent
on the amount of water in the soil. This is
expressed by the water content w. Clay Dry Soil

When the water content is very low (as in very dry clay) the soil can be very
stiff, almost like a stone. It is then said to be in the solid state. Adding water, for
instance if the clay is flooded by rain, may make the clay plastic, and for higher
water contents the clay may even become almost liquid.

Objectives

2|Page
 This experiment is performed to determine the moisture content of soils. The water
content is the ratio of the mass of “free” water in a given mass of soil to the mass of dry
soil.
 To establish the relationship between the way a soil behaves and its properties
 To discern the consistency of a fine-grained soil
 To express the phase relationships of air, water, and solids in a given volume of soil

Equipments

Methodology
Doing this experiment requires extra precautions since it also deals with heat. Improper
use of safety equipment or unable to use one might lead to injuries.

3|Page
Procedures to be done with this experiment are as follows:

1. Label the two provided moisture cans with class section, group number, and trial
number. Do the same with the lid of each moisture can.
2. Determine and record the mass of empty, clean and dry moisture can together with
its lid.
3. Place a recommended amount of moist soil in the moisture can and secure the lid.
Determine and record the mass of the moisture can with its lid containing the moist
soil. Repeat with the moisture can intended for trial 2.
4. Remove the lid and place both moisture can that contains the moist soil inside the
drying oven that is calibrated to a temperature of 105oC. Leave the cans in the oven
for at least 16 hours.
5. Using tongs, remove both cans from the drying oven. Carefully and securely replace
the lid back on the moisture can using gloves. Determine and record the mass of the
moisture can with its lid containing the dry soil.

Data Analysis
 To determine the mass of soil solid:
Ms=Mmoisture can with lid containing dry soil - Mmoisture can with lid
 To determine the mass of pore water:
Mw=Mmoisture can with lid containing moist soil - Mmoisture can with lid containing dry soil
 To determine the water content:
w=Mw/Ms x 100%

4|Page
Data and Result

WATER CONTENT DETERMINATION DATA SHEET


Date Tested: October 2, 2017
Tested By: CE151L Group 6
Sample Number: 6
Sample Description: Clay Soil

Specimen number 1 2

Moisture can and lid number 6 6

Mass of empty, clean can + lid (grams) 29 30

Mass of can, lid, and moist soil (grams) 161 146

Mass of can, lid and dry soil (grams) 121 111

MS =Mass of soil solids (grams) 92 81

MW = Mass of pore water (grams) 40 35

w = Water content, w% 43.48 43.21

Sample Computations
Given:
Mass of empty, clean can + lid = 29 grams
Mass of can, lid, and moist soil = 161 grams
Mass of can, lid and dry soil = 146 grams

 To determine the mass of soil solid:


Ms=Mmoisture can with lid containing dry soil - Mmoisture can with lid
Ms=121 g – 29 g
Ms=92 grams

 To determine the mass of pore water:


Mw=Mmoisture can with lid containing moist soil - Mmoisture can with lid containing dry soil
Mw=161 g – 121 g

5|Page
Mw=40 grams

 To determine the water content:


W=Mw/Ms x 100%
W=(40 grams/ 92grams) x 100%
W=43.48%

Documentation

Figure 1.1 Determining the mass of empty, clean, and dry moisture can with its lid.

6|Page
Figure 1.2 Determining the mass of the moisture can and its lid containing the moist soil.

Figure 1.3 Moisture can (containing the moist soil) in the drying oven (at 105 degrees Celsius)

7|Page
Figure 1.4 Recording the mass of the moisture can and lid (containing the dry soil).

Discussion of Results
Most soils is composed of approximately 20-30% air, 20-30% water, 45% minerals and
5% organic matter varying from different types of soil. When the soil is heated, the water
evaporated thus the mass is decreased to a certain level. In the first and second trial, the cans
and lid with the soil are measured to have a 146g and 161g respectively. After heated in the
oven for approximately 16 hours with a temperature of 105 degrees celsius, the mass of the
cans and lids with the soil was decreased to 111g from 146g and 121g from 161g. Hence, the
mass of soil solids are 92g and 81g and mass of pore water are 40g and 35g. So, water content
are 43.48% and 43.21%. Therefore, the water content in the soil is removed leaving only dry
soil. With these data, we can determine the moisture content the soil initially had.

Conclusion and Recommendations

8|Page
Soil moisture greatly depends on the texture and type of the soil. It can go under the
sandy soil holding 20% moisture, saturated coarse, clay soil etc. Since the experiment yields an
approximate of 40 - 50 % of moisture or water content, it is to conclude that the soil used is
nearly a clay soil. According to MEA, the highest moisture content for clay soil goes around 50%
or more and 20% or less for dry soil. Since the computed moisture content for the two samples
is both approximately 43%, the soil used is definitely not dry and nearly a clay soil holding water
to themselves.

References
Zotarelli, L. (2011). Soil Moisture Content. Interpretation of Soil Moisture Content to Determine
Soil Field Capacity and Avoid Over Irrigation in Sandy Soils Using Soil Moisture Measurements.
1-2

Measurement Engineering Australia (MEA) (2017). Soil Moisture Content in the Field. Effect of
Soil Type.

9|Page