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# Dept of Civil Engg.

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## Determination of Water Content

Experiment No. Date of Experiment Signature of Teacher with date Remarks Evaluation Timely / late / Attendance Performance Understanding Lab Quiz Neatness /2 /2 /3 /2 /1 / 10

Reference: IS : 2720 (Part II) - 1973 Aim: To determine the moisture content (water content) of a given soil sample by oven
drying method.

Theory: A soil is an aggregate of soil particles having a porous structure. The soil may
have water &/or air. The pores are also called as voids. If voids are fully filled with water, the soil is called saturated soil & if soil has only air, the soil is called dry.

Moisture content is defined as the ratio of the mass of water to the mass or mass of solids.

Water Content , w =

## W M Weight of water Mass of wa ter = w = = w Weight of Solids or soil Ws Mass of So lids or so il Ms

The mass of water used in the above expression is the mass of free pore water only. Hence, for moisture content determination the soil samples are dried to the temperature at which only pore water is evaporated. This temperature is standardized to 105 C to 110 C. Soils having gypsum are dried at 60 C to 80 C. The methods to determine the moisture content in the laboratory are oven drying, pycnometer, infrared lamp with torsion balance moisture meter. Whereas the approximate methods are alcohol burning method & calcium carbide method.

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## Applications: Moisture content plays an important role in understanding the behavior

of fine-grained soils. It is the moisture content which changes the soils from liquid state to plastic & solid states. Its value controls the shear strength & compressibility of soil. Compaction of soil in the field is also controlled by the quantity of water present. Density of soil is directly influenced by the water content & is used in calculating the stability of slopes, bearing capacity of soil-foundation system, earth pressure behind the retaining wall & pressure due to overburden. The knowledge of determining the water content is helpful in many of the laboratory tests such as Atterburgs limits, shear strength, compaction & consolidation etc.

Apparatus:
i. ii. iii. iv. v. i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. Metal containers (non corrodible, air tight) Balance (accuracy 0.04 % of the soil taken for test or 0.01g for fine grained soils and 0.1g for medium grained soils) Oven (interior of non corroding material, thermostatically controlled) Desiccator. Pair of Tongs. Clean, dry & weigh the container with lid. Take the required quantity of the soil specimen in the container & weigh the lid. Maintain the temperature of the oven between 105 C to 110 C for normal soils & 60 C to 80 C for soils having loosely bound hydration water &/or organic matter. Dry the sample in the oven till its mass becomes constant. In normal conditions the sample is kept in the oven for not more then 24 hours. After drying remove the container from the oven, remove the lid & cool in the desiccator. Weigh the dry soil in the container with lid
Size of Particles More Than 90 Percent Passing Minimum Quantity of Soil Specimen to be Taken for Test Mass in g

Procedure:

425m IS Sieve 2-mm IS Sieve 4.75-mm IS Sieve 9.50-mm IS Sieve 19-mm IS Sieve 37.5-mm IS Sieve

## 25 50 200 300 500 1000

NOTE 1 For sizes of sieves, see IS : 460 (Part I)-1978. NOTE 2 Drier the soil, the greater shall be the quantity of the soil taken. NOTE 3 Water content specimen should be discarded and should not be used in any other tests.

Precautions:
i. ii. iii. The wet soil sample/specimen should be loosely placed in the metal container. Care should be taken to avoid over heating by maintaining temperature in oven between 105 C to 110 C. Dry soil sample in container, should not be left in open or uncovers before weighing, as it may catch moisture from the surrounding atmosphere.

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## Cusrow Wadia Institute of Technology, Pune

Observation Table:
Sr. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Particulars 1 Container No. Mass of container with lid, M1 g Mass of container with lid + wet soil, M2 g Mass of container with lid +dry soil, M3 g Mass of water, Mw = M2 M3 g Mass of solids, Ms = M3 M1 g Moisture content w % = Mw / Ms x 100 Sample No 2 3

Calculations:
Water Content , w = M2 M3 M 3 M1 100 = Mw Ms 100 = - - - - - - - - - 100 = - - - - - 100 = %

Result: The Average moisture content of a given soil sample is, w = ________% Questionnaire:
1. What is water content or moisture content of soil? 2. What is the significance of moisture content of soil in civil engineering? 3. When soil specimen is dried in the oven, what are the different temperature ranges and why? Which type of water in the soil you intend to evaporate and why? 4. What is the three phase system of soil? For what it is used? 5. Which are the other tests by which you can determine water content? 6. What is the effect of water content in wheat dough? How it is analogous to soil? Explain this with example. 7. What do you understand by saturation? Explain with significance. 8. Draw the phase diagrams for three conditions of saturation with all notations. Also draw phase diagrams for stages with respect to any of your test specimen.

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