Determination of Bulk Density and Water Content of a Cohesive Soil

Essay by naeem_432University, Bachelor's November 2006

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The objective of this experiment is to determine the bulk density and water content of a wet, cohesive soil.


The bulk density of a soil is simply the total mass per total volume. This means the soil sample is weighed with the water still in the sample and then divided by the total volume it occupies giving the bulk density. Finding out the bulk density of a soil is important as it can reveal how much total dry material you have when you relate it to the water content of the soil sample. Finding out the water content of a soil is important as it can aid in the design of practical problems such as planning drainage lines or irrigation.


The experiment that is going to be carried out will be based on the theory that if you have a wet mass of cohesive soil and then if you heat the sample so that no water particles are left inside the sample, then you will be left with only the dry mass.

From this, the mass of water can be calculated by subtracting the dry mass from the total mass. Now the water content can be calculated by dividing the mass of water by the mass of soil and then multiplying by a hundred to get a percentage. Knowing the volume of the soil sample the bulk density can be calculated by dividing the total mass by the total volume.


Below is a list of the apparatus that are needed to carryout the experiment.

* A cohesive sample of soil

* A pod with a diameter of 100mm.

* A tray to put the soil sample on when weighing

* An oven

* Digital scale


Firstly the cohesive sample was collected and kept in...