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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Resources  /  Laboratory  /  Laboratory Methods  /  Lake Sediment Analysis  /  Loss on Drying (Percentage Dry Weight)

Loss on Drying (Percentage Dry Weight)

The percentage weight loss when sediment is dried is determined by the sediment composition. Generally sediments with a high organic content weigh less when dried than an equivalent wet weight of sediment with a high mineral content.


Clean, dry porcelain crucibles, spatula, balance weighing to 4 decimal places, oven set to 105°C, desiccator.


Weigh an empty crucible to 4 decimal places. Add between 1 and 2 grams of wet sediment being careful to keep sediment away from the rim of the crucible where it may become dislodged and fall out during handling. Re-weigh crucible and place in the oven for at least 12 hours or overnight. Using tongs, remove the crucibles from the oven and allow to cool in a desiccator (to prevent re-absorption of moisture) before re-weighing. The percentage weight remaining after drying can then be calculated. The same sample can also be used for loss on ignition analysis.