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The effectiveness of commercially available wetting agents for combating on-site soil water repellency in sandy soil

Nowbakht, Maryam (2011) The effectiveness of commercially available wetting agents for combating on-site soil water repellency in sandy soil. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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Soil hydrophobicity reported to be a worldwide problem throughout the world and Australia affecting diverse soil types particularly soil with high sand content. Soil hydrophobicity affect surface and subsurface hydrology, enhance overland flow and soil erosion, reduce seed germination and crop growth, cause preferential flow and associated leaching of nutrients and agrochemicals. The cause of soil water repellency is believed to be organic coating of the soils particles result from breakdown of organic substances such as; plant roots, fungal or microbial by-products. The most common method of managing soil water repellency in urban areas is application of wetting agents most of which are surfactant based. A trial was conducted at Murdoch University to test the efficacy of three leading locally available commercial wetting agent products and their effect on three commercially available pre-mixed landscape soils. Results from capillary rise, WDPT and double ring infiltrometer tests suggest that; application of selected wetting agents not only did not result in enduring improvement in soil wettability, but also in some cases appear to enhance soil water repellency. These observations lead to the hypothesis that; surfactant molecules in the wetting agents bond to soil particles in the same way as organic hydrophobic materials that coat the soil grains. To substantiate the results, further investigation required to understand the mechanism by which wetting agent molecules interact with soil particles.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Anda, Martin, Gross, Amit and Ho, Goen
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