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Erodibility of synthetic water repellent granular materials: adapting the ground to weather extremes

Zheng, Shuang, Lourenço, Sérgio D.N., Cleall, Peter J. ORCID: and Ng, Angel K.Y. 2019. Erodibility of synthetic water repellent granular materials: adapting the ground to weather extremes. Science of the Total Environment 689 , pp. 298-412. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.328

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Granular materials with synthetic water repellent coatings have great potential to be used in ground interfaces (ground-atmosphere-vegetation and ground-structure) as infiltration barriers, due to their altered hydrological properties (suppressed infiltration and decreased sorptivity). However, very few studies have evaluated the impact of synthetic soil water repellency on soil erosion. This paper investigates the effect of water repellency on soil erosional behavior, including splash erosion and rill processes. Twenty-four flume tests were carried out on model slopes under artificial rainfall; soils with three wettability levels were tested, including wettable (contact angle, CA < 90°), subcritical water repellent (CA ~ 90°) and water repellent (CA > 90°). Various rainfall intensities (230 mm/h, 170 mm/h, 100 mm/h and 40 mm/h) and grain sizes (Fujian sand and sand/silt mixture) were adopted. Erosional variables, including splash erosion rate, average sediment concentration, peak sediment concentration and time to peak sediment were measured to quantitatively analyze the behavior. This study confirms the impact of water repellency on soil erosion and unveils the possibility to reduce infiltration at ground-atmosphere interface with controlled soil erosion. The results revealed that: (1) synthetic water repellency does not necessarily lead to increased soil erosion yield; its impact is dependent on grain size with the soil erosion loss increasing for Fujian sand, but decreasing for sand/silt mixtures; (2) splash erosion is positively correlated to soil water repellency and high rainfall intensity, regardless of grain size; (3) the erosion processes for sand/silt mixtures are particle size selective and not affected by soil water repellency, whereas this phenomenon is not observed with Fujian sand.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0048-9697
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 21 June 2019
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 01:20

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