Comparing different heating methods for determination of moisture content in soils

Cormick, Adam (2015) Comparing different heating methods for determination of moisture content in soils. [USQ Project]


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The use of microwave ovens to dry soil samples to conduct soil moisture tests offers the potential for the results to be available in under one hour compared to approximately 24 hours required to obtain the same results using the standard oven method that is the standard method used in industry.

This research project aimed to identify the correlations between the two methods for a specific range of materials and identify possible limitations for the use of the microwave method. Research was done at the beginning of the project to assess the past and current use of microwaves for moisture content determination and also to develop a methodology that will give an adequate comparison between the methods. It was also important to identify an appropriate test method that would give result in accurate results and ensure that all relevant standards were complied with.

The range of materials tested includes fine-grained silty soil, Bentonite, Kaolinite, Illlite and Peat moss (organic material).

The study involved testing 277 samples using both the microwave drying method and the standard oven method. Through this 554 moisture content results were obtained allowing an accurate comparison to be made between the two methods.

The results were very close in the 192 samples containing fine-grained silty soil, Bentonite, Kaolinite and Illite up to a moisture content of 30%. This included the materials alone as well as all ratios of fine-grained silty soil and clay mixes with all three types of clay. The difference between the methods was less than 1.5% in over 98% of these samples with over 90% of the samples having a difference of less than 1%.

The study did find that the method was not suitable for use with Bentonite at moisture contents above 110% or with soil containing more that 10% organic material (peat moss). All other materials tested showed a good correlation throughout the moisture contents tested through to the liquid limit of the materials and are suitable for use with the microwave drying method.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) project
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Ghabraie, Kazem
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 01:23
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 01:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soils, Microwaves, Moisture Content
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090501 Civil Geotechnical Engineering
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400502 Civil geotechnical engineering

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