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Soil types and water retentionFeatured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was conducted to find out the amount of water retained by different types of soils. The science project was performed using sand, clay and silt soil.


Between Sand, clay and silt soil, silt retains the most water.

Scientific Terms

Organic material, decaying, nutrients


Soil water retention

Soil consists of particles of rock and decaying organic materials. Soil is important for the growth of plants because it supplies them with water and the necessary nutrients. Although there may be many types of soil available for use in our gardens, the most common types are sand, clay and silt.

Sandy soil has very coarse grains. This makes it difficult for them to hold water. Therefore sandy soils is dry and very light. The plants planted in sandy soil will need to be watered frequently.

Clay soil is typically very fine-grained and is able to retain water very easily. The water retention properties of clay soil makes it very suitable for dry season planting. However its water drainage properties are very poor.

Silt is typically very rich in nutrients and water. It is considered a very fertile soil. It has very good drainage properties and is also able to retain water.

Between silt and clay, which do think will retain the most amount of water?

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Time required:
2 day to prepare, 4 hours for the science project experiment
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Basic safety requirements.