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Comparing new methods for soil aggregate stability assessment

Main subject area: Soil structure and aggregation

Short project description

Soil aggregation is essential for maintaining soil structure, fertility, and resilience, ultimately supporting ecosystem productivity and sustainability. There are several laboratory methods for assessing soil aggregate stability. Most of these approaches are typically destructive and involve evaluating the resistance of soil aggregates or undisturbed cores to fragmentation under wet or, less frequently, dry conditions.

New methods for assessing aggregate stability have emerged, such as the SLAKES technique, which employs image recognition to measure the increase in area of a soil aggregate as it disperses in water. Another method, the QuantiSlake test, involves dynamically weighing a dried structured soil sample once immersed in water. This project will utilize various soil types (clay, silt, loam) that have undergone machine-induced compaction. The SLAKES and QuantiSlake methods will be compared with the traditional Eijkelkamp wet sieving method to evaluate their effectiveness.

Department and supervisor

Project start

Any time

Physical location of project and students work

Blichers Alle 20, Tjele, 8830-DK

Extent and type of project

45 ECTS: Experimental theses in which the student is responsible for collection and analysis of his/her own original data

60 ECTS: Experimental theses in which the student is responsible for planning, trial design and collection and analysis of his/her own original data

Additional information: The student should have knowledge of soil physics/soil science.

Useful Reading

  1. Vanwindekens, F. M. and Hardy, B. F.: The QuantiSlakeTest, measuring soil structural stability by dynamic weighing of undisturbed samples immersed in water, SOIL, 9, 573–591, doi.org/10.5194/soil-9-573-2023, 2023.
  2. Bagnall, D. K. and Morgan, C. L.: SLAKES and 3D Scans characterize management effects on soil structure in farm fields, Soil Till. Res., 208, 104893, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2020.104893
  1. Jones, E. J., Filippi, P., Wittig, R., Fajardo, M., Pino, V., and McBratney, A. B.: Mapping soil slaking index and assessing the impact of management in a mixed agricultural landscape, SOIL, 7, 33–46, https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-7-33-2021