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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 2, p. 340-343

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The Effect of Hydrophobic Substances on Water Movement in Soil during Infiltration1

  1. Leonard F. DeBano2



The effect of hydrophobic substances on water movement was studied by infiltrating water horizontally and vertically into soil columns packed with wettable and water repellent soils. Horizontal infiltration was 25 times slower in water repellent soil than wettable soil. In the water repellent soil, the water content decreased 20 to 25% between the water source and the wetting front. In contrast, water content dropped 10% in the same region of the wettable soil. Diffusivities calculated for the two types of soil suggested that hydrophobic substances had the greatest effect on water movement at the lower water contents. The orientation of the columns during water entry affected the shape of the soil-water profiles in the water repellent soil, but not in the wettable soil. The diffusivities calculated from horizontal infiltration experiments were not useful for predicting soil-water profiles during vertical infiltration into either the wettable or water repellent soils.

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