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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 6, p. 899-905
    Received: Apr 6, 1971
    Accepted: June 22, 1971

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Miscible Displacement of Ammonia in Soil; Determining Sorption Isotherms1

  1. D. E. Rolston,
  2. D. R. Nielsen and
  3. J. W. Biggar2



Although anhydrous ammonia is used extensively as a common source of nitrogen for crop production, there is probably less known concerning its behavior after application to soils than that of any other nitrogenous fertilizer. Most techniques used in the past for evaluating the sorption characteristics of anhydrous ammonia have utilized steady-state or so-called equilibrium conditions without considering a method that allows or accounts for simultaneously-occurring mass flow, diffusion, and sorption of the ammonia gas. A miscible displacement technique was developed that entails the displacement of the atmosphere from oven-dry soil columns with ammonia at flow velocities of approximately 100 cm hr-1.

Transient sorption isotherms calculated from miscible displacement experiments were compared with the measured steady-state and transient sorption isotherms for both adsorption and desorption. Isotherms relating the amount of sorption S to the relative ammonia density P (or concentration) were of the nonlinear from S = kPn + ko where k, ko, and n were sorption constants different for adsorption and desorption.

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