Determination of Moisture Content by Oven Drying Method


Determination of Moisture Content by Oven Drying Method


To determine moisture content of soil by oven drying method.


The water effect the density, shear strength, bulking and swelling of

soil.   Its  determination  is   important to  incorporate  its   effect   on   the performance of any engineering structure.



ASTM D 2216-71


Empty clean container, Moist Sample, Oven, Balance accurate to 0.01gm.


  1. Take an empty clean container and weigh the container as W3.
  2. Take the soil sample and place it in container and weigh the container with wet soil sample and record the mass as W1.
  3. Place the container with wet soil sample in the oven at constant temperature of 110±5°C for 24
  4. After 24 hours remove the container from oven and weigh the container with dry soil as W2

Observation and Data Collection

The observations to be taken during the test are shown on data Sheet.

Data Sheet

Mass of wet soil + container W1
Mass of dry soil + container W2
Mass of empty container W3
Mass of water (W1 -W2) Ww


Mass of soil    (W2 -W3) Ws
Moisture content = (Ww/Ws) x100 (%) M.C

Computation and interpretation

The computation to be done after the practical is as following: –

Obtain the mass of water (Ww) in soil and the mass of soil solids in soil (Ws) by using equations:

Ww = W1 – W2 Ws = W2 – W3

To provide a reasonably reliable water content determination, the following wet soil sample mass (Representative samples) are recommended.

Max size of soil particle                    Min mass of wet soil


No.40 sieve (425 mile micron)          10 – 50 gm

No.4 sieve (4.75 mm)                        100 gm

12.5 mm (1/2 in)                               300 gm

25 mm (1 in)                                     500 gm

50 mm (2 in)                                     1000 gm


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