Soil Physics 2010 Review session? Homework 5 due Wednesday, March 24 No office hours this afternoon Exam II on Friday, April 2 Remember I’ll be gone most of next week Announcements
Soil Physics 2010 Where were we? Pore structure is about Transport, so it can be useful to examine other transportation networks.
Soil Physics 2010 Soil Structure (Pores) Characteristics: Hierarchy of pore sizes Hierarchy of attachment Hierarchy of coordination Preferential orientation No empty regions
Soil Physics 2010 Soil Structure (Pores) Characteristics: Hierarchy of pore sizes: range of sizes. We think of pore structure as being mainly about the big pores Hierarchy of attachment: big pores attach preferentially to other big pores Hierarchy of coordination: big pores tend to have more connections than small pores Preferential orientation: for this soil, mostly vertical & horizontal No empty regions: every part is connected
Soil Physics 2010 What does the structure do? Why one structure versus another? What structure(s) would work? What wouldn’t? Let’s take a teleological approach…
Soil Physics 2010 Teleology * of soil structure Required: Ability to store lots of water, but also Ability to shed excess water Water has access to all points (plants) Combination of large & small pores * Teleology: a philosophy that explains a form or phenomenon by its purpose, not by how it occurs.
Soil Physics 2010 Mineralogy & particle size distribution Weather & climate Vegetation, other biological conditions Topography Time Constraints on a soil ← soil must persist in time (These are Hans Jenny’s 5 soil-forming factors)
Soil Physics 2010 Constraints on a soil (2) Porosity Permeability For a given set of constraints – say, an Iowa-like climate: Lots of runoff, Lots of erosion: No soil or plants Lots of storage, but runoff if storage is exceeded Balance of storage and transmission Fast drainage: Stream erosion. No storage: No plants
Soil Physics 2010 Soil Structure thermodynamics Soil structure develops (pores and particles both) over time. How? Don’t the laws of thermodynamics require that the soil lose structure? No. That applies to a closed system. Soil is an open system: energy constantly moves through it. Some of that energy goes to building structure. Heat (up & down) Water (up & down) Evaporation, condensation, freezing, etc. Biological processes
Soil Physics 2010 But soil already has large & small pores, so what’s special about structure? A currently fashionable theory, Constructal Theory, explains structure in terms of how it evolves (though it looks quite teleological). “For a finite-size flow system to persist in time, its configuration must evolve such that it provides easier and easier access to its currents.” (Bejan, 1996)
Soil Physics 2010 Constructal Theory (1) Evolutionary tendencies of a flow system: Greater access Greater conductivity Freedom to morph Svelteness
Soil Physics 2010 Svelteness? The ratio of area or volume served to the length of its transport network Example: area of catchment / length of its streams This gives mean distance to a stream A system can’t be all big channels, or there wouldn’t be space for anything else. A svelte system doesn’t have more or bigger channels than it needs.
Soil Physics 2010 Constructal Theory (2) All flow systems are imperfect, so: Optimize how imperfections are distributed Usually this means that the highest resistance elements are at the smallest scale Hence the prevalence of tree-like structures in natural systems
Soil Physics 2010 How exactly does structure form? Agglomeration (clumping, aggregation) Removal (erosion, channeling, piping) + -
Soil Physics 2010 How exactly does structure form? Agglomeration (clumping, aggregation) Removal (erosion, channeling, piping) High potential Low potential Clay particles in the flow may be sucked onto walls, where they stick
Soil Physics 2010 Why does structure persist? Or, how is a soil with structure better able to resist the forces acting on it, than a soil without structure? Higher K s Better air escape during infiltration Better aeration Less runoff Less runoff, better soil water recharge More roots → → →
Soil Physics 2010 Air entry = structure? Air entry value: The smallest pressure required to push air through a saturated soil By the capillary equation, this corresponds to the biggest continuous pore system Interestingly, the air entry value is a good predictor of K s
Soil Physics 2010 Our understanding of soil structure Richard Feynman, the late Nobel Laureate in physics, was once asked by a Caltech faculty member to explain why spin one-half particles obey Fermi Dirac statistics. Rising to the challenge, he said, “I’ll prepare a freshman lecture on it.” But a few days later he told the faculty member, “You know, I couldn’t do it. I couldn't reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don’t understand it.”