The effects of self-filtration on saturated hydraulic conductivity in sodic sandy soils

Oagile Dikinya

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    156 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] Self-filtration is here defined as particle detachment and re-deposition causing re-arrangement of the particles and therefore pore space which affects water flow in soil by decreasing hydraulic conductivity. This is of particular important in soils which are susceptible to structural breakdown. The objective of this thesis was to examine the dynamics of the self-filtration process in sodic sandy soils as affected by ionic strength and soil solution composition. The temporal changes of hydraulic conductivity and the elution of fine particles from soil columns were used as the main criteria to assess selffiltration. Two porous media exhibiting significantly different structural cohesion were examined, one a loamy sand (Balkuling soil) from agricultural land use and the second a mining residue from mineral sands operations . . . The effects of the composition of mixed calcium (Ca) and sodium (Na) ions in solution (sodium adsorption ratio (SAR)) on the exchange behaviour and saturated hydraulic conductivity were examined by carrying out batch binary exchange and saturated column transport experiments. A strong preference for Ca2+ ions in the exchange complex was observed for both soils. Generally K/Ko was found to decrease with increasing sodium adsorption ratio with the more structured Balkuling soil maintaining K/Ko for SARs 3 and 5 at an electrolyte concentration of 100 mmol/L. However measurements at the critical threshold and turbidity concentrations at a SAR of 15 revealed structural breakdown of the pore matrix system attributed to various extents of slaking, swelling, dispersion and decreases of pore radii as a result of selffiltration during leaching. These experiments illustrate the wide range of complex interactions involving clay mineralogy, solution composition and structural factors which can influence the extent of mobilization, transport and re-deposition of colloidal particles during the leaching process in soil profiles.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2006

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