A two-phase technique for determining the particle size distribution (PSD) of a sediment sample was developed. The hydrometer method of PSD analysis was selected for this research. For each sample, standard preparation for PSD analysis, that is, chemical dispersion of soil aggregates, was preceded by nondispersed PSD analysis. Resulting data were plotted as percentage finer by weight (arithmetic scale) versus grain size in millimeters (log scale). Each sediment sample's curve comprised a dispersed portion and a nondispersed portion. These curves can be used to describe the transport behavior of the soil, information that is necessary for the rational choice and design of effective erosion control measures. Sensitivity analysis, including investigation of the effects of sampling approach, temperature, dispersing time, meniscus, and concentration, showed this technique to be a simple, quick, reproducible, and inexpensive means of characterizing an eroded material.
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