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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Measurement of Shear Strength and Bulk Density of Soil Aggregates1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 5, p. 1248-1251
    Received: Sept 13, 1984
    Accepted: Apr 3, 1985

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  1. J. G. Benjamin and
  2. R. M. Cruse2



A method was developed to measure soil aggregate shear strength and bulk density at soil water matric potentials <0. Strength measurements were made with the Swedish fall-cone penetrometer, and bulk density measurements were made by gamma-ray attenuation. The method allowed both density and strength measurement on the same aggregate. Tests were conducted at soil water matric potentials of −0.2, −1.1, and −4.0 kPa. As the matric potential decreased, the shear strength of the soil aggregates increased. The method described by this paper is an improvement on the standard wet-sieve technique for determination of aggregate stability as follows: (i) it allows the measurement of aggregate strength at matric potentials <0, (ii) the strength measurement is in units of stress, and (iii) the aggregate density as well as aggregate strength can be measured on each sample. The disadvantage is that aggregates with diameters ≥ 2 cm are required for the measurement.

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