We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Particle Size Analysis Using Hydrometer

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 646
  • Category:

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now


This experiment is designed to determine the range of grain sizes and its amount in percentage present within the soil sample. This percent distribution is used to define the structure of the soil. Knowing the structure of any soil sample has been very vital for the study of Civil Engineering. This characteristic determines whether the soil is suitable for foundations of building, road constructions and the like. Using the Hydrometer analysis to determine the soil particles present within the soil sample, we have come up with a conclusion that the soil sample we have obtained was well-graded.

* To be able to determine the particle size distribution of a given soil sample using hydrometer analysis

* Set of Sieves
* Balance
* Hydrometer (152H)
* Graduated Cylinder
* Stirring rod
* Thermometer
* Distilled water
* Timer
* Oven
* Pan
* Hexametaphosphate (dispersing agent)

Hydrometer reading correction Rh:
Rh = actual hydrometer reading – composite correction

Diameter D of soil particles:
D (mm)

K = constant depending on the temperature of suspension and specific gravity of soil. In this experiment, a value of 2.45 had been used as the specific gravity and a temperature of 28°C. Table 3 of ASTM D44 had been used to determine K with a value of 0.01327. L = effective hydrometer depth as provided by Table 2 of ASTM D422 T = time elapsed from the beginning of sedimentation up to reading Percent finer in suspension, P:

W = mass of oven dry soil, after hygroscopic correction
Gs = specific gravity of soil
G1 = specific gravity of water (equal to 1)
Rh = corrected hydrometer reading

Hydrometer reading correction Rh:
Rh = actual hydrometer reading – composite correction

For the particle Size distribution of the soil sample, we may use clay = <0.002 mm
silt = 0.002–0.02 mm
fine sand = 0.02–0.20 mm

Discussion and Analysis

This experiment was based on the assumption that particles with larger diameter settled faster. The results that were obtained in the hydrometer analysis have been represented by a chart. It was seen that at the trials 1 and 2 the plot of time intervals 4, 15 and 30 seconds were not as consistent at the time intervals 60, 90 and 120 seconds.

This is due to the fact that the hydrometer reading was obtained right after the graduated cylinder was agitated for 60 seconds and not having enough time to be stable and the particles were not settled. As you can see on the chart for trial 3, the plot were consistent for the time intervals 5, 15, 30 and 60 minutes but not on the 1440 minutes. This is obviously because of the large gap between 60 minutes and 1440 minutes. There were different factors that may have changed the consistency of the hydrometer and thermometer reading.

The initial weight of the air dry soil sample plus the weight of the container is 21.7g while the weight of the soil sample after oven drying plus the weight of the container was found to be just 21.34. We got the hygroscopic correction factor of 0.9834.

We can see that most of the soil sample is composed of fine sand with diameters ranging from 0.02-0.20mm while just a portion of the soil sample are silt and clay with diameters ranging from 0.002 – 0.02mm and less than 0.002mm, respectively.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The errors obtained in the experiment were mostly from the shaking of the graduated cylinder. Water was spilled during the process. It is recommended to cover the graduated with plastic and then cover it with your palm. This would greatly reduce the amount of water spilled in the process. It was found out that the soil sample was composed mostly of fine sand.

ASTM D422 Particle Size Analysis of Soils
September 2004, Files, Procedures for Particle Size Analysis, http://uwlab.soils.wisc.edu

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59