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Measurement of soil moisture content by gravimetric method



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KM DeAngelis January 22 2007 Measurement of soil moisture content by gravimetric method The soil moisture content may be expressed by weight as the ratio of the mass of water present to the dry to the dry weight of the soil sample or by volume as ratio of volume of water to the total volume of the soil sample To determine any of these ratios for a particular soil sample the water mass must be determined by drying the soil to constant weight and measuring the soil sample mass after and before drying The water mass or weight is the difference between the weights of the wet and oven dry samples The criterion for a dry soil sample is the soil sample that has been dried to constant weight in oven at temperature between 100 110 oC 105 oC is typical It seems that this temperature range has been based on water boiling temperature and does not consider the soil physical and chemical characteristics Materials Oven with 100 110 0C temperature A balance of precision of 0 001 g Aluminum weigh tins auger or tool to collect soil samples Procedure 1 2 3 4 5 Weigh an aluminum tin and record this weight tare Place a soil sample of about 10g in the tin and record this weight as wet soil tare Place the sample in the oven 105oC and dry for 24 hours or over night Weigh the sample and record this weight as weight of dry soil tare Return the sample to the oven and dry for several hours and determine the weight of dry soil tare 6 Repeat step 5 until there is no difference between any two consecutive measurements of the weight of dry soil tare Computations The moisture content in dry weight basis may be calculated using the following formula d wt of wet soil tare wt of dry soil tare wt of dry soil tare tare In some literature the moisture content is expressed in wet weight basis that is defined as the ratio between water mass and the mass of wet soil w The conversion from d to w or visa versa can be carried out as follows wt of water wt of wet soil wt of dry soil d d wt of water wt of dry



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