Influence of wood-derived biochar on the compactibility and strength of silt loam soil
 
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Department of Bioresource Engineering, McGill University, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada, H9X 3V9
Publication date: 2017-04-07
 
Int. Agrophys. 2017, 31(2): 149–155
 
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ABSTRACT
Biochar is proven to enhance soil fertility and increase crop productivity. Given that the influence of biochar on soil compaction remains unclear, selected physico-mechanical properties of soil amended with wood-derived biochar were assessed. For unamended silt loam, the bulk density, maximum bulk density, optimum moisture content, plastic limit, liquid limit, and plasticity index were 1.05 Mg m-3, 1.69 Mg m-3, 16.55, 17.1, 29.3, and 12.2%, respectively. The penetration resistance and shear strength of the unamended silt loam compacted in the standard compaction Proctor mold and at its optimum moisture content were 1800 kPa and 850 kPa, respectively. Results from amending the silt loam with 10% particle size ranges (0.5-212 μm) led to relative decreases of 18.1, 17.75, 66.66, and 97.4% in bulk density, maximum bulk density, penetration resistance, and shear strength, respectively; a 26.8% relative increase in optimum moisture content; along with absolute increases in plastic limit, liquid limit, and plasticity index of 5.3, 13.7, and 8.4%, respectively. While the biochar-amended silt loam soil was more susceptible to compaction, however, soil mechanical impedance enhanced.
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