Effect of kaolinite and Ca-montmorillonite on the alleviation of soil water repellency

https://doi.org/10.17221/4044-PSECitation:Dlapa P., Doerr S.H., Lichner Ľ., Šír M., Tesař M. (2004): Effect of kaolinite and Ca-montmorillonite on the alleviation of soil water repellency. Plant Soil Environ., 50: 358-363.
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The effects of adding 1–3% (weight) kaolinite or Ca-montmorillonite on the wettability of silica sand, made highly water repellent with stearic acid, was studied during wetting and prolonged drying phases at 50°C. The persistence of water repellency was estimated with the water drop penetration time (WDPT) test. After wetting water repellency disappeared in all the samples. During the drying phase, water repellency re-appeared in all samples (untreated and clay-treated) as the water content decreased below 1%. Repellency did, however, not reach pre-wetting levels. The effect of clay additions on water repellency differed strongly between the two clay types. Kaolinite reduced WDPT, while Ca-montmorillonite caused an increase in WDPT in the already highly repellent sand. Potential mechanisms for the alleviation effectiveness of kaolinite are proposed, with key factors being the high adhesion forces between water and clay mineral surfaces, and the ability kaolinite to disperse. In the case of Ca-montmorillonite, its lower affinity for water may lead to a displacement of water molecules at mineral surfaces by amphiphilic organic compounds, which may result in increased repellency. This phenomenon clearly requires further investigation.
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