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Soil water repellency: A molecular-level perspective of a global environmental phenomenon

Daniel, N.R.R., Uddin, S.M.Mijan, Harper, R.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-0268-2917 and Henry, D.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-9629-4423 (2019) Soil water repellency: A molecular-level perspective of a global environmental phenomenon. Geoderma, 338 . pp. 56-66.

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Soil water repellency affects vast regions of agricultural and native land across the globe. Sandy soils are most likely to develop non-wetting characteristics with susceptibility decreasing with clay content. This study uses molecular dynamics simulations combined with laboratory scale experiments to study the interactions and assembly of saturated C16 straight chain alcohol and carboxylic acid molecules on a range of soil surfaces. The development of severe water repellency on sand at low loading levels of palmitic acid (0.75 × 10−6 mol g−1) is explained in terms of favourable H-bonding with silica surfaces and the development of 2–3 layers of lateral aligned organic molecules on the mineral surface. The efficacy of kaolinite in lowering soil water repellency is attributed to the higher surface area of this mineral and favourable surface chemistry, which hinders formation of persistent organic multilayers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
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