There are three basic types of soil, which are categorized by their mineral particle sizes, and they are clay, silt and sand. Clay soil contains very fine mineral particles. Silt is also fine but to a lesser degree than clay, while sand contains large, coarse particles.
Soil that contains all three particle sizes in significant amounts is called loam. An ideal soil for plant growth consists of 45 percent mineral content, 5 percent organic matter, 25 percent air and 25 percent water. The basic soil type - clay, silt or sand - will influence the availability of nutrients, air and water that will be available for plant growth. The larger particles in sandy soil, for example, create more air spaces and will reduce the soil's ability to retain moisture. This not only limits the amount of water required for plant growth, but it also reduces the nutrient content that needs to be in a liquid form so that it can be absorbed by plant roots. Clay soil represents the opposite extreme. It can hold too much water and limit the amount of air that needs to be contained in the soil so that plant roots can exchange gases and nutrients. An equal amount of clay, silt and sand in the mineral portion of soil represents the ideal plant growth combination.Learn More
The primary difference between sand and silt is the particle size. Sand is composed of large particles, making it excessively coarse. Silt is made of much smaller particles and is slippery to the touch.Full Answer >
A sieve analysis procedure is a test used to determine the different grain and particle size distribution of a given material. Various sized sieves are used, normally starting at 80 mm, to pass the aggregate through to determine the different sizes. A scale or balance is also used to weigh the sample due to the weight of the material being a large factor in practical application as well.Full Answer >
According to Boundless, soil is a mix of varying amounts of inorganic matter, organic matter, water and air. The components in soil provide nutrients for plant uptake and can fluctuate on a daily basis, depending on water supply, cultivation practices and soil type.Full Answer >
According to the non-profit project Coral Science, coral reefs are not lodged in soil. The rocky substance in which they are fixed is made by the corals themselves. They live in colonies made of many polyps that build skeletons from the underside of their skin.Full Answer >