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    Standard Test Procedures for Determining the Water Content of Soils

    Published: Jan 2011

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    A. PURPOSE AND USE OF WATER CONTENT TESTS The water content of soil is determined as a means to calculate the dry density of the soil or to determine if the water content is within the range that has been specified for the compaction of the soil. Water content testing is also used to provide preliminary quality-control information that can be used as a guide during construction on whether water needs to be added or removed from the soil. The water content is always an important factor in controlling earthfill compaction. The values of water content are often needed quickly and sometimes in remote borrow areas. The terms “water content” and “moisture content” have historically been used interchangeably. Both terms may be found in the ASTM standards. There is no significance to the use of one term over the other. The definition of water content is “the ratio of the mass of water contained in the pore spaces of soil or rock material, to the solid mass of particles in that material, expressed as a percentage.” The equation is w=MwMs×100 where: w=water content in percent Mw=mass of water Ms=dry mass of soil

    Committee/Subcommittee: D18.02

    DOI: 10.1520/MNL12165M