Ionic strength effects on surface charge and adsorption of phosphate and sulphate by soils

N. S. Bolan, J. K. Syers, R. W. Tillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two surface soils (Patua and Tokomaru) of contrasting mineralogy were incubated with several levels of either CaCO3 or HC1. The effects of ionic strength on pH, on surface charge, and on the adsorption of phosphate and sulphate were measured in three concentrations of NaCl. The pH at which the net surface charge was zero (point of net zero charge—PZC) was 1.8 for the Tokomaru soil and 4.6 for the Patua soil: differences that can be related to mineralogical composition. There was an analogous point of zero salt effect (PZSE) that occurred at pH 2.8 for the Tokomaru soil and at 4.6 for the Patua soil. The presence of permanent negative charge in the Tokomaru soil resulted in an increase in PZSE over PZC. The effect of ionic strength on adsorption varied greatly between phosphate and sulphate. For phosphate, there was a characteristic pH above which increasing ionic strength increased adsorption and below which the reverse occurred. This pH (PZSE for adsorption) was higher than the PZC of the soil and was 4.1 for the Tokomaru soil and 5.3 for the Patua soil. In contrast, increasing ionic strength always decreased sulphate adsorption and the adsorption curves obtained in solutions of different ionic strengths converged above pH 7.0. If increasing ionic strength decreases adsorption, the potential in the plane of adsorption must be positive. Also, if increasing ionic strength increases adsorption, the potential must be negative. This suggests that, depending upon pH, phosphate is adsorbed when the potential in the plane of adsorption is either positive or negative, whereas sulphate is absorbed only when the potential is positive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-388
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Soil Science
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1986
Externally publishedYes

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