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Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics

The Journal of Institute of Hydrology SAS Bratislava and Institute of Hydrodynamics CAS Prague

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Volume 62, Issue 4 (Dec 2014)


Tensile and erosive strength of soil macro-aggregates from soils under different management system

Emilia Urbanek
  • Corresponding author
  • Royal Society Research Fellow, Swansea University, College of Science, Department of Geography, Singleton Park, Swansea, UK.
  • Institute for Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Rainer Horn
  • Institute for Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Alwin J.M. Smucker
  • Institute for Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.
  • Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-11-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/johh-2014-0034


Reduced soil tillage practices are claimed to improve soil health, fertility and productivity through improved soil structure and higher soil organic matter contents. This study compares soil structure stability of soil aggregates under three different tillage practices: conventional, reduced and no tillage. The erosive strength of soil aggregates has been determined using the abrasion technique with the soil aggregate erosion chambers (SAE). During abrasion soil aggregates have been separated into the exterior, transitional and interior regions. The forces needed to remove the material from the aggregate were calculated as erosive strength and compared with the tensile strength of the aggregates derived from crushing tests. The relationship between aggregate strength and other soil properties such as organic carbon and hydrophobic groups’ content has also been identified.

The results show that erosive and tensile strength of soil aggregates is very low in topsoil under conventional and reduced tillage comparing with the subsoil horizons. Negative correlation was found between the content of organic carbon, hydrophobic compounds and erosive aggregate strength which suggests that the stabilising effect of soils organic carbon may be lost with drying. The positive relationship between the tensile strength and erosive strength for aggregates of 8-5 mm size suggests that the total strength of these aggregates is controlled by the sum of strength of all concentric layers

Keywords : Tensile strength; Erosive strength; Exterior/interior aggregate region; Aggregate; Concentric layers; Dry aggregate stability; Reduced tillage


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About the article

Received: 2014-06-23

Accepted: 2014-08-12

Published Online: 2014-11-15

Published in Print: 2014-12-01

Citation Information: Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, ISSN (Online) 0042-790X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/johh-2014-0034.

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© 2014. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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