# Soil Electrical Conductivity: Earthy Energy

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#### Updated on Sep 19, 2013

Soil and energy don't go together, right? One seems natural and a bit on the messy side while the other is a mysterious force that powers everything from our toasters to our cars. What two things could be more different?

Well, science is all about testing what we think of the world. In this experiment, we'll discover if any type of soil can conduct, or carry, an electric current. Soil electrical conductivity? Perhaps soil and energy aren't such a bizarre pairing.

### Problem:

What kind of soil conducts electricity the best?

### Materials:

• 3 containers with lids
• 1/2 cup of clay soil
• 1/2 cup of sand
• 1/2 cup of potting soil
• 1 cup distilled water
• DC 12 volt battery
• 3 jumper wires with crocodile clips
• 2 copper electrodes
• 1 milliammeter
• Marker
• Ruler

### Procedure

1. With your marker, label the three containers A, B, and C.
2. Put 1/8 cup of sand into container A.
3. Put 1/8 cup of clay into container B.
4. Put 1/8 of potting soil into container C.
5. Pour 1/8 cup of distilled water into each container.
6. Take a look at the contents of each container. Think about what you know about electricity and sand, clay and potting soil. What do you think makes a substance conduct electricity or not?
7. Remember the "problem" of this project: What kind of soil conducts electricity the best? Write down your best guess, or hypothesis, in your notebook.
8. Secure the lid on to each container.
9. Shake container A.
10. Take the top off of container A.
12. Then, have your adult connect the ammeter and the DC 12 volt battery to the electrodes.