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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 73 No. 3, p. 910-918
    Received: Dec 14, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): ajaykbhardwaj@gmail.com
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Hydraulic Characteristics of Depositional Seals as Affected by Exchangeable Cations, Clay Mineralogy, and Polyacrylamide

  1. A. K. Bhardwaj *ab,
  2. R. A. McLaughlina,
  3. I. Shainbergc and
  4. G. J. Levyc
  1. a Dep. of Soil Science, 100 Derieux St., Box 7619, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695
    b Current address: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Michigan State Univ., W.K. Kellogg Biological Stn., 3700 E. Gull, Lake Dr. Hickory Corners, MI 49060
    c Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), The Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel


Depositional seals, formed when turbid waters infiltrate into soils, lead to a reduction in the hydraulic conductivity (HC) of soils and increased runoff. In this study, the effect of anionic polyacrylamide (PAM) on the HC and flocculation of depositional seals made of three clay minerals (montmorillonite, illite, and kaolinite), saturated with either Na or Ca, was investigated. A silt loam soil was packed in columns and leached with 5 g L−1 suspensions of the reference clays. Deposition of the clay particles on the soil surface formed seals. In the PAM treatment, dry granules of linear PAM were spread on the soil surface before the suspension application. Calcium seals were more permeable than Na seals in all the clay types, up to 26 times greater for montmorillonite. The HC of the seals for the clay minerals was in the order kaolinite (2.8–3.5 mm h−1) > illite (0.6–3.0 mm h−1) > montmorillonite (0.09–1.0 mm h−1). The addition of PAM generally enhanced clay flocculation, with the magnitude of the enhancement depending on the type of the exchangeable cation. The Na-saturated seals in the three clay types had significantly higher initial HC with the PAM treatment. This increase, however, was transient except in Na-illite. The impact of PAM on the degree of clay flocculation and floc density partially explained the effects of PAM on the HC of the depositional seals. An increase in clay flocculation or a decrease in floc density caused by PAM resulted in an increase in depositional seal HC.

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