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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4642; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124642

Effects of Biochar and Synthetic Polymer on the Hydro-Physical Properties of Sandy Soils

1
Soil Science Department, College of Food & Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
2
General Authority for Agricultural Research, Sanaa 1837, Yemen
3
Department of Soil and Water Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria 21545, Egypt
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Abstract

Synthetic polymers, such as polyacrylamide (PAM), and biochar are generally used as soil amendments to improve soil properties. This paper explores a laboratory column experiment conducted to investigate the effects of biochar (pyrolysis at 400–450 °C) and polymers, with different application rates, on the hydro-physical properties of sandy soil. The experiment evaluated four rates each of biochar (0.0% (C), 2% (B1), 4% (B2), 6% (B3) and 8% (B4)) and polymers (0.0% (C), 0.2% (P1), 0.4% (P2), 0.6% (P3), and 0.8%(P4)), as well as a mixture of them. The infiltration rate decreased significantly when a mixture of biochar and polymers was adopted. B1 showed a decrease of 32.73% while a mixture of 8% (B4) and (0.8%) P4 exhibited a decrease of 57.31%. The polymers increased the infiltration rate at low concentrations (P1 and P2) and reduced it at high concentrations (P3 and P4). The cumulative evaporation decreased significantly for most treatments. B1 recorded the highest decrease in cumulative evaporation with a percentage decrease of 31.9%. The highest decrease in hydraulic conductivity (Ks) was for B1. However, the mixture of B4 and P4 resulted in the highest increase in soil moisture content at field capacity compared to the control and other treatments. P4 and the mixture of B2 and P2 showed significant (p < 0.05) increases in the percentage of stable aggregate (SA) in fraction size (0.25–0.125 mm). Although the mixture of B4 and P4 had the highest increase in soil moisture content, this study recommends using the B1 treatment on sandy soil in arid environments due to its strong hydro-physical properties and affordability. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil amendments; polymer; biochar; infiltration rate; soil hydraulic properties; aggregate stability soil amendments; polymer; biochar; infiltration rate; soil hydraulic properties; aggregate stability
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Alkhasha, A.; Al-Omran, A.; Aly, A. Effects of Biochar and Synthetic Polymer on the Hydro-Physical Properties of Sandy Soils. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4642.

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