To determine the water content in soil by oven drying method as per IS: 2720 (Part II) – 1973.


The water content (w) of a soil sample is equal to the mass of water divided by the mass of solids.


1- Thermostatically controlled oven maintained at a temperature of 110 ± 5oC
2- Weighing balance, with an accuracy of 0.04% of the weight of the soil taken
3- Air-tight container made of non-corrodible material with lid
4- Tongs


The soil specimen should be representative of the soil mass. The quantity of the specimen taken would depend upon the gradation and the maximum size of particles as under


1- Clean the container, dry it and weigh it with the lid (Weight ‘W1’).
2- Take the required quantity of the wet soil specimen in the container and weigh it with the lid (Weight ‘W2’).
3- Place the container, with its lid removed, in the oven till its weight becomes constant (Normally for 24hrs.).
4- When the soil has dried, remove the container from the oven, using tongs.
5- Find the weight ‘W3’ of the container with the lid and the dry soil sample.


The water content = (W2-W3)/(W3-W1)x100%

An average of three determinations should be taken. A sample proforma for the record of the test results is given in the below table.


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