mass of soil per unit volume. Often used as a measure of soil compaction.
In materials science, bulk density, also called apparent density or volumetric density, is a property of powders, granules, and other "divided" solids, especially used in reference to mineral components (soil, gravel), chemical substances, pharmaceutical ingredients, foodstuff, or any other masses of corpuscular or particulate matter (particles).
Bulk density is defined as the mass of the many particles of the material divided by the total volume they occupy. The total volume includes particle volume, inter-particle void volume, and internal pore volume.
Bulk density is not an intrinsic property of a material; it can change depending on how the material is handled. For example, a powder poured into a cylinder will have a particular bulk density; if the cylinder is disturbed, the powder particles will move and usually settle closer together, resulting in a higher bulk density. For this reason, the bulk density of powders is usually reported both as "freely settled" (or "poured" density) and "tapped" density (where the tapped density refers to the bulk density of the powder after a specified compaction process, usually involving vibration of the container.)
In contrast, particle density is an intrinsic property of the solid and does not include the volume for voids between particles.