Soils are a complex combination of organic matter, gases, minerals, organisms and liquids, that altogether supports our life. Earth's body of soil is called the pedosphere, which has four important functions:It is a medium for plant growth, it stores water, supplies, and purifies, it is a modifier of earth's atmosphere, it is a habitat for organisms. Soil is one of the principal substrata of life on earth, which is a participant in the cycling of carbon and other elements through the global ecosystem. To study the texture of soil samples and a few more go through the experiment below.
An Experiment to Study the Texture of Soil Samples
To study the texture of soil samples,
To study the moisture content of the soil samples,
To study capacity of holding water of soil samples,
To study the pH of the soil samples.
Roadside and garden soil to be used. Other materials apart from the samples are:
pH paper booklet
Universal pH indicator solution
Mortar and pestle
Tin box with perforated bottom
The steps to analyse various properties:
To Study the Texture of Soil Samples,
Collect 50 gm of soil in a cylinder.
Pour a little water into the cylinder and shake.
Wait for the particles to settle down.
The particles in the measuring cylinder will start settling down in layers. Record the thickness of these layers.
To Study the Moisture Content of the Soil Samples,
Put the two samples of soil in different crucibles.
Weight the samples using a weighing balance.
Place the crucibles over the Bunsen burner and heat it until it becomes dry.
Weight the crucibles and record the weight of the dry soil samples.
The samples are now ready to be used to determine the moisture content of the soil.
To Study the Holding Capacity of Water of Soil Samples,
Take a soil sample in a mortar.
Grind it into a fine powder.
Place a filter paper at the bottom of the box.
Weigh the entire contents of the tin box and add the powered soil into the box.
Use the glass rod to press and tap the box so that the soil is uniformly layered.
Measure and record the weight of the tin box.
Take two glass rods placing them parallel to each other. Ensure that the distance between the two is not significant.
Position the tin on the two glass rods such that the bottom is in contact with the water.
This setup should be left undisturbed until the water seeps through the upper surface of the soil.
Remove the tin and allow all the water to flow out from the bottom.
Wait until no more water percolates from the tin. Then, wipe the bottom dry and note down the weight using the weighing machine.
To Study the ph of the Soil Samples,
Take the roadside soil and put it into a beaker containing water. Repeat the steps for the garden soil sample as well.
Take a test tube and pour the soil solutions separately through filter papers using a funnel.
The collected filtrates in the test tube are ready for pH testing.
Put a few drops of universal indicator solution using a dropper to the test tube.
To study the moisture content of the soil samples:
The sample where the initial and final weight is the larger indicated higher moisture content and if lower indicates the lower moisture.
To study the ph of the soil samples:
The colour changes are trackable using the pH colour chart. Roadside soil has pH level of 7 while garden soil has pH level of 6. Maximum crops grow between pH levels of 6.0 and 7.0.
Question: What are the layers of soil?
Answer: The layers of soil are topsoil, subsoil and parent rock.
It contains organisms in one tablespoon of soil more than there are people on earth.
Even to form an inch of topsoil it may take nearly 500 years.
0.01 percent of the water on earth is held in the soil.
Soil lies at the bottom of the food chain. Still, it is the cornerstone of life on the earth.