It is applicable to the laboratory determination of the water (also known as moisture) content of a soil test specimen by oven-drying within the scope of geotechnical investigations. The water content is required as a guide to the classification of natural soils and as a control criterion in re-compacted soils, and is measured on samples used for most field and laboratory tests. The oven-drying method is the definitive procedure used in usual laboratory practice.
The practical procedure for determining the water content of a soil is to determine the mass loss on drying the test specimen to a constant mass in a drying oven controlled at a given temperature. The mass loss is assumed to be due to free water and is referenced to the remaining dry mass of solid particles.