Infiltration Variability in Agricultural Soil Aggregates Caused by Air Slaking
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This article reports on variation in infiltration rates of soil aggregates as a result of phenomenon known as air slaking. Air slaking is caused by the compression and subsequent escape of air captured inside soil aggregates during water saturation. Although it has been generally assumed that it occurs mostly when dry aggregates are rapidly wetted, the measurements used for this paper have proved that it takes place even if the wetting is gradual, not just immediate. It is a phenomenon that contributes to an infiltration variability of soils. In measuring the course of water flow through the soil, several small aggregates of five agricultural soils were exposed to distilled water at zero tension in order to characterize their hydraulic properties. Infiltration curves obtained for these aggregates demonstrate the effect of entrapped air on the increase and decrease of infiltration rates. The measurements were performed under various moisture conditions of the A-horizon aggregates using a simple device.
Keywordsaggregate breakdown moisture content aggregate stability rainfall simulation
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