A new rapid method for clay, silt and sand-sized mineral particle size measurements of soils and soil products

Information on the proportions of clay, silt and sand-sized mineral particles in soils and in soil products used for construction is critical for understanding their physical and chemical properties and for their proper use and management. However, these soil mineral particles are usually glued together with inorganic cements (calcium carbonate, iron and aluminum oxides/hydroxides) and organic matter which can make measurements of the proportions of the individual mineral size separates using current methods problematic. We propose to develop a novel rapid method to measure soil mineral particle size distribution employing pre-treatments to separate the mineral fraction into constituent clay, silt and sand-size fractions followed by an analysis called integral suspension pressure measurement using an instrument- UMS PARIO to measure their sedimentation characteristics. This instrument is newly developed by UMS AG, München, and we are the first in North America to test it.

Xiaowei Zhang
Faculty Supervisor: 
Paul Voroney
Partner University: