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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Laboratory Testing of Water-repellent Soil Treatments for Water Harvesting1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 4, p. 562-566
    Received: Dec 19, 1975
    Accepted: Mar 11, 1976

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  1. D. H. Fink2



Field testing of repellents for water harvesting is both slow and costly, often hindering the orderly, rapid progression of the technique. Laboratory tests were developed for rapidly evaluating the effectiveness of water-repellent treatments on soils. The effect of accelerated weathering from ultraviolet radiation, ozone, and freeze-thaw cycling on the retention of water repellency and on soil stability were studied. The effect on soil stability of prolonged hydration and water erosion was also considered. Using these laboratory tests, numerous soils, organic materials, and treatment techniques can be quickly evaluated so that field testing can be reserved for only the most promising. A small representative laboratory study, reported here to illustrate the technique, showed that two repellents (a petroleum resin dust-suppressant oil and paraffin wax) when combined made soil generally more resistant to total weathering effects than did either repellent alone. The dust suppressant helped to stabilize the soil against damage by freeze-thaw cycling, while the was protected it from degradation by ultraviolet radiation. These laboratory results compare favorably with observations from field plots treated with these two repellents.

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