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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2016, Vol.11(7), p.e0159948
    Description: Matter turnover in soil is tightly linked to soil structure which governs the heterogeneous distribution of habitats, reaction sites and pathways in soil. Thereby, the temporal dynamics of soil structure alteration is deemed to be important for essential ecosystem functions of soil but very little is known about it. A major reason for this knowledge gap is the lack of methods to study soil structure turnover directly at microscopic scales. Here we devise a conceptual approach and an image processing workflow to study soil structure turnover by labeling some initial state of soil structure with small garnet particles and tracking their fate with X-ray microtomography. The particles adhere to aggregate boundaries at the beginning of the experiment but gradually change their position relative to the nearest pore as structure formation progresses and pores are destructed or newly formed. A new metric based on the contact distances between particles and pores is proposed that allows for a direct quantification of soil structure turnover rates. The methodology is tested for a case study about soil compaction of a silty loam soil during stepwise increase of bulk density (ρ = {1.1, 1.3, 1.5} g/cm3). We demonstrate that the analysis of mean contact distances provides genuinely new insights about changing diffusion pathways that cannot be inferred neither from conventional pore space attributes (porosity, mean pore size, pore connectivity) nor from deformation analysis with digital image correlation. This structure labeling approach to quantify soil structure turnover provides a direct analogy to stable isotope labeling for the analysis of matter turnover and can be readily combined with each other.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Transport in Porous Media, 2016, Vol.112(1), pp.207-227
    Description: According to experimental observations, capillary trapping is strongly dependent on the roughness of the pore–solid interface. We performed imbibition experiments in the range of capillary numbers ( Ca ) from $$10^{-6}$$ 10 - 6 to $$5\times 10^{-5}$$ 5 × 10 - 5 using 2D-micromodels, which exhibit a rough surface. The microstructure comprises a double-porosity structure with pronounced macropores. The dynamics of precursor thin-film flow and its importance for capillary trapping are studied. The experimental data for thin-film flow advancement show a square-root time dependence. Based on the experimental data, we conducted inverse modeling to investigate the influence of surface roughness on the dynamic contact angle of precursor thin-film flow. Our experimental results show that trapped gas saturation decreases logarithmically with an increasing capillary number. Cluster analysis shows that the morphology and number of trapped clusters change with capillary number. We demonstrate that capillary trapping shows significant differences for vertical flow and horizontal flow. We found that our experimental results agree with theoretical results of percolation theory for $$Ca =10^{-6}$$ C a = 10 - 6 : (i) a universal power-like cluster size distribution, (ii) the linear surface–volume relationship of trapped clusters, and (iii) the existence of the cutoff correlation length for the maximal cluster height. The good agreement is a strong argument that the experimental cluster size distribution is caused by a percolation-like trapping process (ordinary percolation). For the first time, it is demonstrated experimentally that the transition zone model proposed by Wilkinson (Phys Rev A 30:520–531, 1984) can be applied to 2D-micromodels, if bicontinuity is generalized such that it holds for the thin-film water phase and the bulk gas phase.
    Keywords: 2D-micromodel with rough surface ; Precursor thin-film flow ; Snap-off trapping ; Universal power law ; Ordinary bond percolation
    ISSN: 0169-3913
    E-ISSN: 1573-1634
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2016, Vol.20(10), pp.4017-4030
    Description: Prediction and modeling of localized flow processes in macropores is of crucial importance for sustaining both soil and water quality. However, currently there are no reliable means to predict preferential flow due to its inherently large spatial variability. The aim of this study was to investigate the predictive performance of previously developed empirical models for both water and air flow and to explore the potential applicability of X-ray computed tomography (CT)-derived macropore network characteristics. For this purpose, 65 cylindrical soil columns (6#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm diameter and 3.5#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm height) were extracted from the topsoil (5#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm to 8.5#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm depth) in a 15#xE2;#x80;#xAF;m#xE2;#x80;#xAF;#xE2;#x80;#x89;#xC3;#x97;#xE2;#x80;#x89;#xE2;#x80;#xAF;15#xE2;#x80;#xAF;m grid from an agricultural field located in Silstrup, Denmark. All soil columns were scanned with an industrial X-ray CT scanner (129#xE2;#x80;#xAF;#xC2;#xB5;m resolution) and later employed for measurement of saturated hydraulic conductivity, air permeability at -30 and -100#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm matric potential, and gas diffusivity at -30 and -100#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm matric potential. Distribution maps for saturated hydraulic conductivity, air permeability, and gas diffusivity reflected no autocorrelation irrespective of soil texture and organic matter content. Existing empirical predictive models for saturated hydraulic conductivity and air permeability showed poor performance, as they were not able to realistically capture macropore flow. The tested empirical model for gas diffusivity predicted measurements at -100#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm matric potential reasonably well, but failed at -30#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm matric potential, particularly for soil columns with biopore-dominated flow. X-ray CT-derived macroporosity matched the measured air-filled porosity at -30#xE2;#x80;#xAF;cm matric potential well. Many of the CT-derived macropore network characteristics were strongly interrelated. Most of the macropore network characteristics were also significantly correlated with saturated hydraulic conductivity, air permeability, and gas diffusivity. The predictive Ahuja et al.#xC2;#xA0;(1984) model for saturated hydraulic conductivity, air permeability, and gas diffusivity performed reasonably well when parameterized with novel, X-ray CT-derived parameters such as effective percolating macroporosity for biopore-dominated flow and total macroporosity for matrix-dominated flow. The obtained results further indicate that it is crucially important to discern between matrix-dominated and biopore-dominated flow for accurate prediction of macropore flow from X-ray CT-derived macropore network characteristics.
    Keywords: Hydrogeology – Analysis ; Permeability – Analysis ; Porosity – Analysis ; Cat Scans – Analysis;
    ISSN: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
    ISSN: 10275606
    E-ISSN: 1607-7938
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, December 2016, Vol.195, pp.31-39
    Description: Engineered nanoparticles released into soils may be coated with humic substances, potentially modifying their surface properties. Due to their amphiphilic nature, humic coating is expected to affect interaction of nanoparticle at the air-water interface. In this study, we explored the roles of the air-water interface and solid-water interface as potential sites for nanoparticle attachment and the importance of hydrophobic interactions for nanoparticle attachment at the air-water interface. By exposing Ag nanoparticles to soil solution extracted from the upper soil horizon of a floodplain soil, the mobility of the resulting “soil-aged” Ag nanoparticles was investigated and compared with the mobility of citrate-coated Ag nanoparticles as investigated in an earlier study. The mobility was determined as a function of hydrologic conditions and solution chemistry using column breakthrough curves and numerical modeling. Specifically, we compared the mobility of both types of nanoparticles for different unsaturated flow conditions and for pH = 5 and pH = 9. The soil-aged Ag NP were less mobile at pH = 5 than at pH = 9 due to lower electrostatic repulsion at pH = 5 for both types of interfaces. Moreover, the physical flow field at different water contents modified the impact of chemical forces at the solid-water interface. An extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (eDLVO) model did not provide satisfactory explanation of the observed transport phenomena unlike for the citrate-coated case. For instance, the eDLVO model assuming sphere-plate geometry predicts a high energy barrier (〉 90 ) for the solid-water interface, indicating that nanoparticle attachment is less likely. Furthermore, retardation through reversible sorption at the air-water interface was probably less relevant for soil-aged nanoparticles than for citrate-coated nanoparticles. An additional cation bridging mechanism and straining within the flow field may have enhanced nanoparticle retention at the solid-water interface. The results indicate that the mobility of engineered Ag nanoparticles is sensitive to solution chemistry, especially pH and the concentration of multivalent cations, and to the unsaturated flow conditions influencing particle interaction at biogeochemical interfaces.
    Keywords: Unsaturated Transport ; Water Dynamics ; Cation Bridging ; Amphiphilic ; Edlvo ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences ; Geography
    ISSN: 0169-7722
    E-ISSN: 1873-6009
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  • 5
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