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7/8/2016

PhysicalandChemicalPropertiesofSoil

EssayinHindi

ADVERTISEMENTS:

PhysicalandChemical
PropertiesofSoil
ADVERTISEMENTS:

(A)PhysicalPropertiesofSoils:
Physicalpropertiesofthesoilcanbediscussedunderthe
followingheads:
(1)Soilseparatesandtexture,
(2)Structureofsoil,
(3)Weightandsoildensity,
(4)Porosityofsoil,
(5)Permeabilityofsoil,
(6)Soilcolour,
(7)Temperatureofsoil,and
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(8)SoilPlasticity,CompressibilityandErodibility.
1.SoilSeparatesandSoilTextures:
Mineralfractionofsoilconsistsofparticlesofvarioussizes.
Accordingtotheirsize,soilparticlesaregroupedintothefollowing
types(Table23.1).

TheparticlesizesofabovegroupsaresuggestedbyInternational
SocietyofSoilScience.InIndia,internationalsystemofparticle
differentiationiscommonlyfollowed.Theparticletypesaregenerally
calledsoilseparatesorsoilfractions.Amountofsoilseparatesis
determinedbyaprocessknownasmechanicalanalysis.Inthis
process,soilsampleiscrushedandscreenedthrougha2mmround
holesieve.Thescreenedsoilisthenhomogeneouslydispersedin
waterandallowedtosettle.
Insuspension,particlesoflargestdimensionswillsettlefirstand
thoseofsmallerdimensionswillsettleafterwards.Individualsoil
separatesareidentifiedonthebasisoftheirrespectivediameter
ranges.Soilseparates(sand,siltandclay)differnotonlyintheirsizes
butalsointheirbearingonsomeoftheimportantfactorsaffecting
plantgrowth,suchas,soilaeration,workability,movementand
availabilityofwaterandnutrients.
Importantcharacteristicsofdifferentsoilseparatesareas
follows:
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Sand:
Thisfractionofsoilconsistsoflooseandfriableparticlesof2.203
.02mmdiameter.Sandparticlescanbeseenbyunaidedeye.These
particles,althoughinactive,constitutetheframeworkofthesoil.They
playlessimportantroleinphysicochemicalactivities.Whencoated
withclay,thesesandparticlestakeveryactivepartinchemical
reactions.Sandsincreasethesizeofporespacesbetweensoil
particlesandthus,facilitatethemovementofairandwaterinthesoil.
Silt:
Itconsistsofsoilparticlesofintermediatesizesbetweensandand
clay(diamrange.02.002mm).Silt,whenwet,feelsplasticbutin
drystatefeelslikeflourortalcum.Coarsesiltshowslittle
physicochemicalactivitiesbutfinergradesplayimportantrolein
somechemicalprocesses.Siltysoilhasgotlargerexposedsurface
areathanthesandysoil.Siltysoilscontainsufficientquantitiesof
nutrients,bothorganicandinorganic.Thatiswhytheyarevery
fertile.Soilsrichinsiltpossesshighwaterholdingcapacity.Suchsoils
aregoodforagriculture.
Clay:
Thissoilfractioncontainssmallerparticlesthansilt(below.002mm
diameter)whichexhibitplasticityandsmoothnesswhenwetand
hardnesswhendry.Owingtotheirsmallestsizeandcolloidalnature,
theclayparticlesexposeextremelylargesurfacearea.Theytakevery
activepartinphysicochemicalreactionsofthesoil.Claysoilshave
finepores,poordrainageandaerationandthustheyhavehighest
waterholdingcapacity.Theclayactsasstorehouseforwaterand
nutrients.

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Somesoilsarefine,whileothersarecoarse.Itissobecauseofthefact
thattherelativepercentageofsand,siltandclaydifferfromsoilto
soil.Therelativepercentageofsoilseparatesofagivensoilisreferred
toassoiltexture.Textureofsoilforagivenhorizonisalmosta
permanentcharacter,becauseitremainsunchangedoveralong
periodoftime.
Therelativepercentagesofsoilseparatesofaveragesamplesare
almostinfiniteinpossiblecombinations.Itis,therefore,necessaryto
establishlimitsofvariationsamongsoilfractionssoastogroupthem
intotexturalclasses.Thecommontexturalclasses,asrecognizedby
USDA(U.S.DepartmentofAgriculture)aregiveninthefollowing
table.Theseclassesarerecognizedonthebasisofrelativepercentage
ofseparatessand,siltandclay(Table23.2).

ThischartisadaptedfromfractionsystemofU.S.D.A.Ifrelative
percentagesofsoilseparatesareknown,thesoilcanbegiventextural
name.Forthispurposeequilateraltrianglesareused.Themost
widelyusedEquilateraltrianglesareinternationalequilateraltriangle
andtheoneusedbyUSDA(Figs.23.1,23.2).Theseconsistofthree
anglesanditsareaisdividedintotwelvegroupsrepresentingtwelve
differenttexturalclasses.Eachgroupcoversdefiniterangeof
percentagesofsand,silt,andclay.Inthetriangles,leftsideline
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representstheclay%,rightsidelinerepresentspercentageofsiltand
baserepresentspercentageofsand.
Eacharmofthetriangleisdividedintotendivisionsrepresentingsoil
separatespercentage.Thesedivisionsarefurtherdividedintoten
smalldivisionseachsmalldivisionrepresentsonepercentofsoil
separate.Thepercentagesofsand,silt,andclayobtainedafter
mechanicalanalysisofthegivensoilarereadontheequilateral
triangle.
Inusingthediagramasindicatedthepercentagesofsiltandclay
shouldbelocatedonsiltandclaylinesrespectively.Thelineincaseof
siltisthenprojectedinwardparalleltoclaysideofthetriangleandin
caseofclayitshouldbeprojectedparalleltothesandside.Thethree
linesonerepresentingsandpercentage,otherrepresentingsilt
percentageandthethirdclaypercentagemeetatapointinthe
triangle.Thecompartmentinwhichthepointfallsindicatestextural
nameforthegivensoilsample.Theknowledgeofsoiltextureisof
greathelpintheclassificationofsoilandindeterminationofdegree
ofweatheringofrock.
2.StructureofSoil:
Sand,siltandclayarefoundinaggregatedform.Arrangementof
thesesoilparticlesoncertaindefinedpatternsiscalledsoilstructure.
Thenaturalaggregatesofsoilparticlesareclodpedswhereasan
artificiallyformedsoilmassiscalledclod.Peddiffersfromfragment
becausethelatterreferstothebrokenped.Peddiffersfrom
concretioninthesensethatthelatterisformedinthesoilby
precipitationofsaltsdissolvedinpercolatingwater.
Soilstructurealsorevealsthecolour,textureandchemical
compositionofsoilaggregates.Soilstructureisinfluencedbyair
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moisture,organicmatter,microorganismsandrootgrowth.When
manyparticlesorpedsareaggregatedintocluster,acompound
particleisformed.

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SoilStructureisdescribedunderthefollowingthree
categories:
A.Type:
Thisindicatestheshapesorformsandarrangementofpeds.Peds
maybeofvariousshapes,suchasgranular,crumb,angularblocky,
subangularblocky,platyandprismatic(Fig.23.3).Differenttypesof
pedsandtheirpropertiesaredescribedin(Table23.3).

B.SizeClass:
Theseareasfollows:
(i)Veryfineorverythin
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(ii)Fineorthin
(iii)Medium
(iv)Coarseorthick
(v)Verycoarseorverythick
C.Grade:
Thisindicatesthedegreeofdistinctnessofpeds.
Itisdescribedunderthefollowingfourcategories:
(i)Structureless:
Pedsnotdistinct,i.e.,cementorsandlikecondition.
(ii)Weak:
Pedsdistinctandrarelydurable.
(iii)Moderate:
Pedsmoderatelywelldeveloped,fairlydurableanddistinct.
(iv)Strong:
Pedswelldeveloped,quitedurableanddistinct.
3.DensityandSoilWeight:
Densityofsoilisthemassperunitvolume.Itisexpressedintermsof
gmpercubiccentimeter.Averagedensityofthesoilis2.65gmsper
cubiccentimeter.Densityofsoilvariesgreatlydependinguponthe
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degreeofweathering.
Forthisreasonsoildensityisexpressedintwogenerally
acceptedforms:
(i)Particledensityortruedensityand
(ii)Bulkdensity.
(i)Particledensity:
Densityofsolidportionofsoiliscalledparticledensity.Itissumtotal
ofdensitiesofindividualorganicandinorganicparticles.Average
particledensityoforganicsoilvariesfrom1.2to1.7gmsperml.and
thatofinorganicfractionvariesfrom2.6to278gms/ml.Particle
densitymaybecalculatedas:weightofsolids/volumeofsoils.
Particledensitydividedbydensityofwatergivesthespecificgravity
orrelativeweightnumber.Specificgravityofsoilparticles=Particle
density/densityofwater.
(ii)Bulkdensityorapparentdensity:
DryweightofunitvolumeofsoilinclusiveofporespacesIScalled
bulkdensity.Itisexpressedintermsofgmpermlorlbspercubic
foot.Itislesserthantheparticledensityofthesoil.Bulkdensityof
soilmaybecalculatedas:weightofsoil/volumeofsoil.
Bulkdensityofthesoildividedbydensityofwatergivesvolume
weightorapparentspecificgravityofsoil.Bulkdensityofsoilchanges
withthechangeintotalporespacepresentinthesoilanditgivesa
goodestimateoftheporosityofsoil.Averagedensityofsoilinbulkis
15gm/ml.Organicsoilshavelowbulkdensityascomparedto
mineralsoils.Soilweightvariesinrelationtotexturalclasses.
Averageweightofloamorsandysoilis80110pounds/cubicfoot
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butthatofclayrangesbetween70and100pounds/cubicfoot.
4.PorosityofSoil:
Thespacesoccupiedbyairandwaterbetweenparticlesinagiven
volumeofsoilarecalledporespaces.Thepercentageofsoilvolume
occupiedbyporespaceorbytheinterstitialspacesiscalledporosity
ofthesoil.Itdependsuponthetexture,structure,compactnessand
organiccontentofthesoil.Porosityofthesoilincreaseswiththe
increaseinthepercentageoforganicmatterinthesoil.Porosityof
soilalsodecreasesasthesoilparticlesbecomemuchsmallerintheir
dimensionbecauseofdecreaseinporespaces.
Italsodecreaseswithdepthofthesoil.Theporespacesare
responsibleforbetterplantgrowthbecausetheycontainenoughair
andmoisture.Percentageofsolidsinsoilscanbedeterminedby
comparingbulkdensityandparticledensityandmultiplyingby
hundred.

Dependinguponthesizeporespacesfallintotwocategories.
Theseare:
(1)Microporespaces(capillaryporespaces)
(2)Macroporespapes(noncapillaryporespaces)
Capillaryporespacescanholdmorewaterandrestrictthefree
movementofwaterandairinsoiltoaconsiderableextent,whereas
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macroporespaceshavelittlewaterholdingcapacityandallowfree
movementofmoistureandairinthesoilundernormalconditions.
5.PermeabilityofSoil:
Thecharacteristicofsoilthatdeterminesthemovementofwater
throughporespacesisreferredtoassoilpermeability.Soil
permeability,becauseitisdirectlydependentontheporesize,willbe
higherforthesoilwithlargenumberofmacroporespacesthanthat
forcompactsoilwithalargenumberofmicroporespaces(capillary
spaces).Permeabilityofsoilalsovarieswithmoisturestatusand
usuallydecreaseswiththegradualdesiccationofsoil.Inthearid
regions,groundwatermovesupwardlythroughcapillaryactionand
bringsodium,potassiumandcalciumsaltswithitindissolvedstate
onthesurfaceofsoil.Thewaterevaporatesandinorganicsalts
precipitateonthesurfaceofthesoil.Asaresultofthis,thesoil
becomeslesspermeableandtheproductivecapacityofsoilis
reduced.
6.SoilColour:
Soilsexhibitavarietyofcolours.Soilcolourmaybeinheritedfrom
theparentalmaterial(Le.,lithochromic)orsometimesitmaybedue
tosoilformingprocesses{acquiredorgeneticcolour).Thevariations
inthesoilcolourareduetoorganicsubstances,ironcompounds,
silica,limeandotherinorganiccompounds.
Theorganicsubstancesimpartblackordarkgreyishblackcolourto
thesoil.Ironcompoundsareresponsibleforbrown,redandyellow
coloursofsoils.Ironoxidesincombinationwithorganicsubstances
impartbrowncolourwhichismostcommonsoilcolour.Silica,lime
andsomeotherinorganiccompoundsgivelightwhiteandgreytinges
tothesoil.
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Soilcolourinfluencesgreatlythesoiltemperature.Thedarkcoloured
soilsabsorbheatmortreadilythanlightcolouredsoils.Theworkof
Ramdas,L.A.andDavid,R.K.(1936)atPoonashowedthatblack
cottonsoilabsorbed86%ofthetotalsolarradiationsfallingonthe
soilsurfaceasagainst40%bythegreyalluvialsoil.Soilcolourisused
asanimportantcriterionfordescriptionandclassificationofsoil.
Manysoilsarenamedaftertheirprominentcolours,suchasblack
cottonsoil,redyellowlatosol,greyhydromorphicsoilsandsoon.
7.SoilTemperature:
Thechiefsourcesofsoilheataresolarradiationsandheatgenerated
inthedecompositionofdeadorganicmattersinthesoilandheat
formedintheinteriorofearth.Thesoiltemperaturegreatlyaffects
thephysicochemicalandbiologicalprocessesofthesoil.
Temperatureofsoildependsuponthetemperatureofatmosphericair
andonmoisturecontent.Itiscontrolledbyclimate,colourofsoil,
slope,andaltitudeofthelandandalsobyvegetationalcoverofthe
soil.
Theaverageannualtemperatureofsoilisgenerallyhigherthanthat
ofitssurroundingatmosphere.RamdasandM.S.Katti(1934)
recordedsurfacetemperatureofblackcottonsoilashighas165?at
Poona(Maharashtra),India.Surfacetemperatureofsoilshows
considerablefluctuationsbutsoiltemperaturebelowcertaindepth
remainsmoreorlessconstantandisnotaffectedbydiurnalor
regionaltemperaturechanges.
StudiesmadebyLeatheratPusaResearchInstituteinBihar(India)
showedthatdiurnaltemperaturedifferenceatthelevel12inches
belowthesoilsurfacewasonly1Candatadepthof24itseldom
exceeded0.1C.Atthedepthof3or4feet,thetemperatureremains
almostconstant.
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8.SoilPlasticity,CompressibilityandErodibility:
Soilplasticityisapropertythatenablesthemoistsoiltochangeshape
whensomeforceisappliedoveritandtoretainthisshapeevenafter
theremovaloftheforcefromit.Theplasticityofsoildependsonthe
cohesionandadhesionofsoilmaterials.Cohesionreferstothe
attractionofsubstancesoflikecharacteristics,suchas,thatofone
watermoleculeforanother.Adhesionreferstotheattractionof
substancesofunlikecharacteristics.Soilconsistencydependsonthe
textureandamountofinorganicandorganiccolloids,structureand
moisturecontentsofsoil.
Compressibility:
Itreferstothetendencyofsoiltoconsolidateordecreaseinvolume.
Thecompressibilityispartlyafunctionofelasticnatureofsoil
particlesandisdirectlyrelatedtosettlementofstructures.Withthe
decreaseinthemoisturecontentssoilsgraduallytendtobecomeless
stickyandlessplasticandfinallytheybecomehardandcoherent.
Plasticsoilshavegreatcohesionforce.Itisonlybecauseofcohesion
propertythemoistclaysoilsfrequentlydevelopcrackswhenthey
becomedried(Fig.23.4).Coarsematerialssuchasgravelsandsands
havelowcompressibilityandthesettlementisconsiderablylessin
thesematerialsascomparedtohighlycompressiblefinegrained
organicsoils.

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Erodibility:
Itreferstotheeasewithwhichsoilmaterialscanberemovedbywind
orwater.Easilyerodedmaterialsincludeunprotectedsilt,sandand
otherlooselyconsolidatedmaterials,Cohesivesoils(withmorethan
20%clay)andnaturallycementedsoilsarenoteasilyremovedfrom
itsplacebywindorwaterand,therefore,havealowerosionfactor.
(B)ChemicalPropertiesofSoils:
Chemicalpropertiesofsoilscanbedescribedunderthe
followingheads:
(1)Inorganicmattersofsoil,
(2)Organicmattersinsoil,
(3)Colloidalpropertiesofsoilparticles,and
(4)SoilreactionsandBufferingaction,
(i)Acidicsoils,
(ii)Basicsoils,
1.InorganicMattersofSoil:
Fromtheaccountsgiveninthedescriptionofweatheringprocessitis
clearthatcompoundsofaluminium,silicon,calcium,magnesium,
iron,potassiumandsodiumarechiefinorganicconstituentsofsoils.
Besidesthese,thesoilsalsocontainsmallquantitiesofseveralother
inorganiccompounds,suchasthoseofboron,magnesium,copper,
zinc,molybdenum,cobalt,iodine,fluorineetc.Theamountsofthese
chemicalsvaryinsoilsofdifferentplaces.Chemicalcompositionof
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soilofonehorizondiffersgreatlyfromthecompositionofsoilinthe
otherhorizon.
2.OrganicMattersinSoil:
Organiccomponentofthesoilconsistsofsubstancesoforganic
originlivinganddead.Insandysoilofaridzone,itisfoundinvery
poorquantity(oneorlessthanonepercent)butinpeatysoil,itmay
beashighas90%.Whentheplantsandanimalsdie,theirdead
remainsaresubjectedtodecomposition.
Asaresultofdecompositionanumberofdifferentorganicproducts
orcompoundsareformedfromtheoriginalresidues.Inthecourseof
decomposition,theoriginalmaterialsareconvertedintodark
colouredorganiccomplexes,calledhumus.Sometimeslivingmicro
organismsaddsufficientamountoforganicmattersinsoilinthe
formofmetabolicwastes.
Chemistshavebeenattemptingtounravelthedetailsofhumus
compositionsincetheearliestdaysofsoilscience,andhavegotmuch
successbutmoreisyettobediscovered.Intermsofspecific
elements,theorganiccomponentofsoilcontainscompoundsof
carbon,hydrogen,oxygen,phosphorus,nitrogen,sulphurandsmall
amountofotherelementsalso.Onlysmallfractionoftotalorganic
matterissolubleinwaterbutmajorityofthemaresolubleinalkali
solution.
Chemicallyhumuscontainsthefollowingorganic
molecules:
A.AminoAcids:
i.Glutamicacid
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ii.Alanine
iii.Valine
iv.Proline
v.Cystine
vi.Phenylalanine
B.Proteins:
(I)Purines
(i)Guanine
(ii)Adenine
(II)Pyramidines
(i)Cytosine
(ii)Thymine
(iii)Uracil
C.AromaticMolecules:
D.UronicAcids:
(i)Glucuronicacid
(ii)Galacturonicacid
(iii)Lacticacid
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E.AliphaticAcids:
(i)Aceticacid
(ii)Formicacid
(iii)Succinicacid
F.Aminosugars:
(i)Glucosamine
(ii)N.Acetylglucosamine
G.PentoseSugars:
(i)Xylose
(ii)Arabinose
(iii)Ribose
H.HexoseSugars:
(i)Glucose
(ii)Galactose
(iii)Manose
I.SugarAlcohols:
(i)Inosital
(ii)Mannitol
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J.MethylSugars:
(i)Rhamnose
(ii)Fucose
(iii)20,methylDxylose
(iv)20,methylDarabinose
Besidesthesecompoundslockedupinthehumusfraction,thesoil
alsocontainsfats,oils,waxes,resins,tannin,ligninandsome
pigments.
WaksmanandStevanshaveproposedthefollowingmethod
forseparationofdifferentorganiccompoundspresentin
thesoil:

Anothermodifiedmethodforseparationofthevarious
organiccompoundsfromthesoilisasfollows:
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Thefractionsarenotpurechemicalcompoundsbutareintheformof
mixturesofseveralsubstances.Theyarefoundincolloidalstateinthe
soil.
3.ColloidalPropertiesofSoilParticles:
Therearetwotypesofsubstancesnamelycrystalloidsand
colloids:
Crystalloidsarethosecrystallinesolidsubstanceswhichformtrue
solutiononbeingmixedwithothersubstances.Intruesolution,
crystalparticlescannotbeseenwiththehelpofmicroscope.
ThewordcolloidfirstcoinedbyGrahm(1849)isderivedfromGreek
wordskollameaningglueandeoidsmeaningappearance,i.e.,glue
likeinappearance.Colloidisreallyspeakingamorphousstateofthe
substanceswhichdonotformtruesolutionifmixedwithother
substances.Theparticlesofcolloidalsubstancesfloatinthesolventin
suspensionstatebutdonottendtosettleatthebottom.Colloidsare
notfoundinionicormolecularformbutarefoundinaggregatesof
atomsormolecules.
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Colloidalsystemorsuspensioncontainstwophaseswhich
are:
(i)Dispersionphase,i.e.,mediuminwhichtheparticlesare
suspended,and
(ii)Dispersedphase,i.e.,suspendedparticles.
Colloidalsuspensionmaybeofdifferentkinds,suchas:
(1)Suspensionofliquid,inliquid,asmilk(fatsinwater).
(2)SuspensionofsolidinliquidasIndiaink(orclaysuspensionin
water).
(3)Suspensionofsolidingas,assmoke(coalparticlessuspendedin
air).
(4)Suspensionofliquidingas,e.g.,cloudandfogsinatmosphere.
Thecommonestcolloidsarethosewhichremainsuspended
inaliquidmedium:
Ifthecolloidalsuspensionexhibitspropertiesoffluid,itiscalledsol,
butsometimessolsexhibitsolidlikebehaviourandformsolidor
nearlyso.Thisconditioniscalledgel.Somesolsformreversiblegel
whiletheothersformirreversiblegel.
Someoftheimportantpropertiesofcolloidsingeneralare
asfollows:
1.Particlesize:
Crystalloidsandcolloidsdifferfromeachotherintheirsizerange
Particlesofcrystalloidintruesolutionare0.2to1m(millimicron)
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whilethoseofcolloidsinsuspensionare1to200m.
2.Adsorption:
Becausethecolloidalparticlesofdispersedphaseareverysmall,they
havegotlargeexposedsurfaceareas.Owingtotheirlargeexposed
surfaceareas,thesecolloidalparticlesshowgreatadsorptivecapacity.
Inadsorption,particlesofparticularsubstancescometolieonthe
surfaceofcolloidsandtheydonotenterdeepinthecolloidal
particles.
3.Electricalproperties:
Theelectricallychargedcolloidsaretermedasmicelles.Colloidshave
someelectricalchargeonthem.Theymaybechargedeitherpositively
ornegatively.Colloidalparticlesofoneelectricalchargehave
tendencytoattractcolloidsofoppositecharge.Inthesoilclay
particlesarenegativelycharged,thustheyattractcations(+charged
ions).
Colloidparticlesdifferfromelectrolytesinthefactthatwhenelectric
currentispassedinthecolloidalsuspension,allthecolloidalparticles
areattractedtowardsoneelectrodeortheotherdependinguponthe
natureofchargetheycarryonthem.Thisphenomenoniscalled
electrophoresis.
Theelectrolytes,whendissolvedinsolventdissociateintotwotypes
ofionsamongwhichhalfwillbearpositivecharge(cations)and
remaininghalfwillbearnegativecharge(anions)Whenelectric
currentispassedinthesolutionofelectrolyteallthepositively
chargedionswillaccumulateonnegativepoleandremaining
negativelychargedionswillcollectonpositivepole.
4.Coagulationorflocculationofcolloidalparticles:
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Colloidalparticlesinthesuspensioncanbecoagulatedeitherby
heatingorbyaddingsomesubstanceswhichcontainopposite
chargedions.Whensubstancescarryingpositiveionsareaddedin
suspensioncontainingnegativelychargedcolloidparticles,ionswill
moveandaccumulateonthesurfaceofcolloidscarryingopposite
charge.Finallyastagecomeswhencolloidalparticlescannotattract
moreoppositechargedionsThisiscalledisoelectricpointAsaresult
ofionaccumulationontheirsurface,thecolloidsfirstbecomelarge
andheavierandfinallytheytendtosettleatthebottominfloccules.
Thisprocessisknownasflocculation.
5.Tyndalphenomenon:
Colloidalparticlesinsuspensioncanbeseenwhenastrongbeamof
lightispassedthroughsuspensionandobserverlooksitfromthe
placeatrightangletothepathoflight.Thecolloidalparticlesbecome
visibleasstronglyilluminatedparticlesandtheyappearbiggerthan
normalsize.ThisphenomenonisknownasTyndaleffect.
6.Brownianmovement:
Colloidalparticleswhensuspendedindispersionmediumshowa
characteristiccontinuouszigzagmotion,calledBrownianmovement.
ThistypeofmovementwasfirstobservedbyEnglishbotanistRobert
Brown,henceitiscalledBrownianmovement.Themovementis
exhibitedbecauseofcharacteristiccollisionofoneparticlewith
others.Thispreventstheparticlesfromsettlingdown.
7.Dialysis:
Becausecolloidalparticlesinsuspensionarelargerthantheparticles
ofcrystalloidintruesolutionandarelargerthanthediameterof
poresofporousmembranes,e.g.,parchmentmembrane,theyarenot
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allowedtobefiltereddownandareretainedthemembraneThus,
theycanbeseparatedinpurestatefromthemixtureofcrystalloids
andcolloidsbyfiltrationprocess.Thisseparationprocessisknownas
dialysis.
ColloidalFractionofSoil:
Therearetwotypesofcolloidsinthesoil.Theseare:
(1)Mineralcolloidsorclaycolloids,and
(2)Organicorhumuscolloids.
Thesetwocolloidalfractionsofsoilareveryintimatetoeachother
anditisverydifficulttoseparatethem.Theinorganiccolloidsoccur
asveryfineparticlesandorganiccolloidsoccurintheformofhumus
particles.Thesoilcolloidparticlesshowalmostallthecharacteristics
oftypicalcolloidalsystem,i.e.,adsorption,Tyndaleffect,Brownian
movement,coagulation,electrophoresis,dialysisetc.
1.Claycolloids:
Asregardsthesize,clayfractionofsoilcontainsbothnoncolloidal
andcolloidalparticles.Someclayparticlesmaybeaslargeas.002
mmindiameterbutsomemaybesmallerthannormalcolloidsize
(normalsizeofcolloidparticleisfrom1to200m).Theclayparticles
areformedmainlyofsilica,alumina,ironandcombinedwater.
Colloidalclaymayalsocontainrichaccumulationofplantnutrients.
Earlyresearchersofsoilsciencehavedescribedclaycolloidsas
sphericalparticlesandtheirsizeswerementionedintermsoftheir
diameters,butrecentelectronmicrographsrevealthatparticlesoccur
inlayersorplatesandeachcayparticleappearsasifitiscomposed
ofalargenumberofplatelikeunits.Theseunitsorflakesofclayare
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heldtogetherbyaforceofattraction.Theplatelikeclayparticles
exposelargesurfaceareaonwhichmoistureandcations(+ions)are
held.Thefinertheclayparticlesthegreaterwillbethepercentageof
hygroscopicmoisture.
Ifclayissuspendedindistilledwater,shaken,andthenalittle
NH4OHisaddedtosuspensionandallowedtosettle,afterafew
minuteslargeparticlessettledownbutfinerparticlesremainin
suspendedstate.Whenalittlelimewaterisaddedtosuspension,fine
suspendedparticlesincreaseinsizeandformsmallflocculeswhich
haveatendencytosettledown.Thus,finerclayparticlesshow
flocculationproperty.Nowifsomeacidisadded,theflocculesare
brokenandtheclayparticleswillreturntotheirnormalsize.This
processisknownasdeflocculating.
Theclayparticlesarenegativelycharged,hencetheycanhold
thousandsofpositivelychargedionsofmineralnutrientsontheir
surfaces.Theclaycolloidsarelyophilic(waterloving).So,theyare
importantfromthestandpointoftheadsorptionoflargequantityof
water(perhaps,510layersofwatermoleculesareheldonthesurface
ofclaycolloid).
2.Organiccolloidsorhumuscolloids:
Organiccolloidsinthesoilarechieflyduetopresenceofhumus.The
humuscontains8%eachoflignin,protein,polyuronides(sugarsand
uronicacidcomplex).Organiccolloidsmaybepresentinappreciable
proportioninthesoils.Insandysoil,itformsminorpartofcolloids.
Inpeatysoil,organiccolloidsmaybemorethan50%.Thesecolloids
showadsorptivecapacitymanytimesgreaterthanclaycolloids.
Organiccolloidsarenegativelychargedlikeclaycolloids.Additionof
organiccolloidstothesandysoilincreasestemporarilyitsmoisture
andnutrientretainingcapacity.
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CationExchange:
Sincethesoilcolloids(clayandorganiccolloids)havenegative
chargesonthem,theyattractandholdpositiveions(cations).When
cationsareaddedtothesoilssuchasCa++intheformoflime,K+
ionsintheformofpotassiumfertilizer,andNH++intheformof
ammoniumfertilizer,theadsorptionofcationswilltakeplaceonthe
surfaceofcolloidmicelleandthiswillbeaccompaniedbyreleaseof
oneormoreionsheldbycolloidmicelle.
Thisisknownascationicexchange.Forexample,supposethatcolloid
micellehasonehalfofitscapacitysatisfiedwithCa++ions,one
quarterwithK+ionandremainingonequarterwithH+ions.Now
thecolloidistreatedwithKClsolution.TheK+ionswillfirstreplace
Ca++ionsandthenH+ions.TheCa++andH+ionswillcombinewith
CIionsofKClandwillformCaCl2andHClrespectively.
Thecationexchangeinthesoilmaytakeplacebetween:
(1)Cationspresentinthesoilsolutionsandthosealreadypresenton
surfaceofsoilcolloids
(2)Cationsreleasedbyplantrootsandthosepresentonthesurfaceof
soilcolloids,and
(3)Cationspresentonthesurfaceoftwoclaycrystalseithertwo
organiccolloidsoranorganiccolloidandaclaycolloid.
Exchangereactionisveryquickandreversibleandtheexchangeof
ionscontinuestillequilibriumisattained.Allcationsarenot
adsorbedwithequalease.Someareeasilyadsorbedwhileothersare
replacedwithdifficulty.Divalentcationsaremoreeffectivethanthe
monovalentones.Hydrogenisexceptionbecauseitisheldbycolloids
mosttenaciouslyanditISmostpowerfulreplacerofcations.
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Replacingcapacitiesofsomecationsarecomparedhere
H+>Ca++>K+>Na+>Na+

Thenumberofcationsadsorbedperunitweightofonehundred
gramsdrysoiliscalledcationexchangecapacity.Morescientifically,
cationexchangecapacityofsoilisthesumtotalofexchangeable
cationsadsorbedperunitweightofonehundredgmsofdrysoil.
Factorswhichareresponsibleforcationexchangeorbase
exchangeareasfollows:
(1)Relativeconcentrationandnumberofcationspresentinthesoil,
(2)Replacingcapacityoftheions,and
(3)Numberofchargesontheions.
AnionExchange:
Soilsrichinorganiccolloidsshowanionexchangealso.Inthis
process,negativelychargedionsheldbycolloidsarereplacedbyOH,
H2PO4,SO4,andNO3ions.Therelativeorderofexchangeis
OH>H2PO4,>SO4>NO3
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Amongtheseanions,exchangeofPO4,ionsismostimportant.SO4
andNOarenotretainedinthesoilforlongperiodoftime,hence
notavailableforanionicexchange.Lateritesoilshavehighadsorptive
andfixationcapacityforPO4thanblacksoils.
Anionicandcationicexchangereactionsareimportantinagriculture.
Severalsoilscientistshaveshownthatthecapacityofsoiltoexchange
cationsisthebestindexofsoilfertility.Thepredominanceof
desirableionsintheexchangecomplexbringsaboutgoodphysical
cationsandfavorablyinfluencesthemicrobialactivitiesinthesoil,
suchasammonificationnitrification,etc.Theknowledgeofcation
andanionexchangeisofgreathelpinreclaimingacidicandsalineor
alkalinesoils.
4.SoilReaction:
Manychemicalpropertiesofsoilscentreroundthesoilreaction.As
regardstheirnature,somesoilsareneutral,someareacidicandsome
basic.Theacidity,alkalinityandneutralityofsoilsaredescribedin
termsofhydrogenionconcentrationsorpHvalues.Inorderto
understandsoilreaction,theknowledgeofpHisverynecessary.
Itcanbeunderstoodinthefollowingways:
WaterdissociatesintoH+ionandOHion.Hencetheionic
constantofwatercanberepresentedasfollows:
Ionicconstantofwater=[H+][OH]/[H2O].Buttherateof
dissociationofwaterissoslowthationizationconstantofwatercan
beexpressedsimplyasproductofconcentrationofH+andOHions,
thusionizationconstantofwaterKw=[H+][OH].Concentrationof
H+andOHionsareexpressedintermsofequivalentsperlitre.Only
onemoleculeintenmillionwatermoleculesisindissociated
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condition.
Atneutrality,H+concentrationis0.0000001or107gmofhydrogen
perlitresolution.Theionizationconstantofwateris1014at25Cand
thusinanyaqueoussystemproductsofH+andOHion
concentrationis1014.
Now,theaboveequationcanbewrittenas:
1014=[H+][OH]
Thiscanalsoberepresentedinthefollowingwaybydividingboth
sidesinoneandtakinglogarithms.

Thevalueoflog1/[H+]andlog1/[OH]aregenerallypHandpoH
respectively.ThesepHandpOHareindicesoftheacidityand
alkalinityrespectively.Thus,pHcanbedefinedasnegative
logarithmsoftheH+ionconcentration.Whenthesystemisneutral,
pHwillbeequaltopOHandwhenKwis1014,thevalueofpHand
pOHatneutralpointwillbe7foreach.WhenpHvalueislessthan7,
itisacidic.ThepHvalueabove7indicatesalkalinity.Ifinasystem,
hydrogenionconcentrationis1/.000001or000001gm/litre,thepH
valuewillbe6.
Itismoreclearfromthefollowingcalculation:

ThusatpHvalueof6,theH+ionconcentrationisincreased10times
thantheH+concentrationatpHvalueof7.Likethis,ateverylower
pintH+ionconcentrationwillincreasebyamultipleof10.Asthe
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productofH+ionandOHionconcentrationsatneutralityisalways
1014,thepOHcanbedeterminedfrompHvalue.Suppose,pHvalue
ofasolutionis6,thepOHvaluewillbe8(106+108=1014)pHscale
isdividedinto14divisionsorpHunitsfrom1to14.SoilwithpH
valueof7isneutral,thatbelowpH7isacidicandthatwithpHvalue
above7isalkaline.
FromthepHvalueintensityofacidityinthesoilisexpressedbut
thesevaluesarenotthemeasureoftotalaciditybecausetheydonot
indicatethereservedacidityorrelativeacidity.Forexample,thereare
twosoilsampleswhichhavesimilarpHvaluesbuttheyrequire
differentquantitiesoflimeforneutralization.Itmeansthatthe
quantitiesofacidsaredifferentinthegivenweightofabovetwosoils.
BufferAction:
ItreferstotheresistancetochangeinpHofasystem.Suchsolutions
asarereasonablypermanentinpHvalueevenafteradditionofsome
alkalioracidtothemarecalledsolutionwithreservedacidityor
alkalinityormoreoftenbuffersolutions.Suppose,acertainamount
ofacidisaddedtodistilledwater,theresultingsolutionwillshow
acidicreactionandthatwillhaveapHbelow7,butifthesame
quantityofacidisaddedtoaneutralsoilsuspensiontherewouldbe
veryminorchangeinpH.Thispropertyofsoiltoresistachangein
pHiscalledbufferaction.
Buffersolutionsareusuallyformedofamixtureofsaltofweakacid
andaciditselfinvariousproportions,asforexample,amixtureof
sodiumacetateandaceticacidifaddedtowaterwillresultinabuffer
solution.Inthemixturesolutionwehavemainlysodiumionsand
acetateions.InwatertherewillbesomeH+andOHions.Inbuffer
solution,acetateionsareinexcess,owingtopresenceofwellionised
sodiumacetate.IfH+ionsareaddedtothissolutionstheywill
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combinewithacetateionstogiveaceticacidoflowionisationpower.

Hence,therewillbealittleincreaseinpH.Theadditionofacidto
buffersolutionthenmakeslittledifferenceinthepHvalue.
BufferinginSoil:
SoilsshouldhavegoodbufferingcapacityTherefore,itisnecessaryto
addconsiderablylargeamountofacidsoralkalisinordertobring
aboutanychangeintheoriginalpHofsoil.Bufferingactionisdueto
presenceoflargequantityofweakacidsandtheirsaltsinthesoil.
Phosphates,carbonates,bicarbonatesandothersaltsofweak
inorganicacidsandcorrespondingacidsthemselvesareimportant
bufferingagentsinthesoils.Besidesthese,colloidsassociatedwith
cationsareimportantbufferingagents.Thebufferingactionofsoilis
directlygovernedbytheamountandnatureofclayandorganicor
humuscolloidspresentinit.
Bufferingactionofsoilisimportantinagricultureinthe
followingrespects:
(1)StabilizationofpH:
Thisprotectsthehigherplantsandmicroorganismsformdirect
adverseandinjuriouseffectsofsuddenchangeinsoilreaction.
(2)Amountofamendmentsnecessarytocorrectthesoil
reaction:
Thegreateristhebufferingcapacityofsoilthesmallerwillbethe
amountoftheamendmentsrequiredsuchaslime,sulphuretc.to
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correcttheacidityoralkalinity.
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