Main content area

A study on the air permeability as affected by compression of three French soils

Tang, Anh Minh, Cui, Yu-Jun, Richard, Guy, Défossez, Pauline
Geoderma 2011 v.162 no.1-2 pp. 171-181
agricultural machinery and equipment, agricultural soils, air, clay soils, crop production, permeability, plant growth, porosity, sandy soils, soil air, soil compaction, water content
Soil air permeability is one of the most important parameters which govern the aeration in agricultural soils and thus has a significant effect on the plant growth and crop production. Therefore, it appears important, when analysing the effect of soil compaction due to agricultural machinery, to correlate air permeability with soil capacity parameters such as air-filled porosity, degree of saturation, water content, etc. In the present work, the relationship between air permeability, soil capacity parameters and vertical stress was analysed by performing confined uniaxial compression tests accompanied by air permeability measurements. Three French soils having different textures were studied. Tests were performed on remoulded and undisturbed soils, at various initial dry bulk densities and water contents. For the remoulded soils, the air permeability has been found strongly correlated with the applied vertical stress for sandy loam; by contrast, no obvious correlation could be established for clay. As far as the undisturbed soils are concerned, the air permeability could be correlated with the air-filled porosity for sandy loam and silty–clayey loam but also no evident correlation could be established for clay. Examination of an existing model predicting the air permeability from the air-filled porosity using one tortuosity/connectivity parameter showed that this parameter varies in a small range for sandy soils and in a larger range for clayey soils.