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Discussion: Soil is the material found on the surface of the earth that is composed of

organic and inorganic material. Soil varies due to its structure and composition. The
volume of water the soil can retain or hold in its air spaces is known as the water
holding capacity. Soil provides a habitat for many organisms and is the medium for
most plant growth. There are three basic types of soil: sand, silt and clay. Sand is
small particles of weathered rocks. Sand is fairly coarse and loose so water is able to
drain through it easily. As a result sandy soil is good for drainage but not good for
growing plants because sandy soil will not hold water or nutrients; it has a low water
holding capacity. Clay is very fine-grained soil. There is very little space between the
fine grains for air or water to circulate. Therefore, clay does not drain well or provide
space for plant roots to flourish. Hence clay is said to have a high water holding
capacity. Loam is a combination of sand, silt and clay. Loam will vary depending on
how much of each component is present. It holds moisture, but also allows for good
drainage. In the experiment the water holding capacity of three soil types, labelled A,
B, and C were tested. A filtration process was setup using filter funnel, filter paper
and measuring cylinder and a 100ml portion of water was poured in each sample. The
amount of water drained and retained were recorded in a table.

The results obtained showed that sample C drained the most water and hence retained
the least. It drained a volume of 71ml and retained 29ml. Soil sample B drained the
least amount of water and retained the most. It drained a volume of 29ml and retained
71ml. Soil sample A drained an intermediate amount and also retained an
intermediate amount of the three samples. It drained 53ml and retained 47ml. It was
expected that the soil sample that retained the least amount of soil would be sand and
the one that retained the most would be clay while the one that retained an
intermediate would be clay. Therefore, soil sample C is most likely sand as it retained
the least due to the fact that it has large particle size and alot of air spaces for water to
pass through. Sample B is mostly likely clay as it retained the most water due to the
fact that the particles are very fine and it has few air spaces for water to pass through.
Sample A is most likely loam as it retained adequate amount of water due to the fact
that it is composed and sand, silt and clay.

1) it was ensured that the filter paper was not torn during the filtration process as this
would cause more water to enter the measuring cylinder.
2) The measuring cylinder was read at eye level to prevent parallax error.
3) The top loading balance was zeroed before weighing the soil samples.

Conclusion: Soil sample B (clay soil) had the highest water holding capacity (71ml)
and soil sample C (sand) had the least water holding capacity (29ml) while soil
sample A (loam) had the intermediate water holding capacity (47ml).