# How to Measure Loose Density in the Field

### MATERIAL DENSITY DETERMINES BUCKET AND MACHINE CHOICE

Construction companies often select the size of machine they believe is required and equip it with a standard bucket, but this approach might short change productivity. The ideal decision sequence for highest productivity is to:

2. Take the greatest material density on the site and match it to the appropriate bucket size and capacity needed to meet the productivity targets.
3. Choose the machine that will efficiently cycle that bucket.

### THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE CAN BE USED TO DETERMINE THE LOOSE DENSITY OF MATERIAL IN THE FIELD.

What you will need:

• A 5 gallon/19 liter capacity pail or bucket
• A water source
• Enough site material to fill the bucket
• A scale
• A marker or pen and paper
• A calculator

### STEP 1 – DETERMINE THE VOLUME OF THE PAIL.

1. Weigh the pail to obtain the empty weight.
2. Record the empty weight on the pail for future reference.
3. Completely fill the pail with water.
4. Weigh the filled pail.
5. Subtract the pail empty weight on the bucket from the filled pail weight to obtain the weight of the water in the pail.
6. Divide the weight of the water by the density of one cubic foot (62.42796)/meter (1000) to obtain the pail volume in cubic feet/meters.
7. Record the volume of the pail on the pail for future reference.

Formula:

total weight of pail filled with water – empty weight of pail

density of 1 cubic foot/meter of water

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### STEP 2 – MEASURE THE LOOSE DENSITY OF THE MATERIAL.

1. Fill the pail with materials from the site. DO NOT pack.
2. Drop the pail to settle the material and eliminate voids.
3. Strike off the material so it is level with the top of the pail.
4. Weigh the filled pail.
5. Subtract the pail empty weight on the bucket from the filled pail weight to obtain the weight of the material in the pail.
6. Multiply the weight of the material in the pail by 27.
7. Divide the answer in #6 by the volume of the pail (recorded on the pail) to obtain the material density in lbs./cubic yard or kg/cubic meter.

Formula:

total weight of pail filled with material – empty weight of pail x 27

pail volume in cubic feet or kg/cubic meter

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