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Journal Article

Particle size fractionation of soil containing coal and combusted particles

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Schmidt, M. W. I., Rumpel, C., & Kögel-Knabner, I. (1999). Particle size fractionation of soil containing coal and combusted particles. European Journal of Soil Science, 50(3), 515-522.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-E1BA-2
Standard procedure for dispersing natural soils for particle size fractionation can be too aggressive for soil containing coal and other organic particles from coal industries. We have investigated ultrasonic dispersion for the latter in four soils differing in pedogenesis (Phaeozem, Podzol, reclaimed mine soils), carbon content (27.5-138.6 g kg(-1)), clay content (80-153 g kg(-1)) and sources of particles (airborne coal dust, combustion residues, lignite particles). As we found previously for natural soils, the ultrasonic energy needed for complete dispersion varies between 450 and 500 J ml(-1), but the resulting particle size distributions differ from those obtained by standard textural analysis. This is probably related to the different properties of native soil organic matter and coal and combusted particles. Coal and soot particles may partly resist oxidation with hydrogen peroxide, depending on material and particle size. The diameter of lignite particles, remaining after oxidation, is overestimated in sedimentation analysis by a factor of 1.66. Sand-sized lignite particles can be disrupted by ultrasonication and redistributed to finer particle size fractions. The ultrasonic dispersion and particle size fractionation procedure can be applied to soils containing coal and combusted particles, but caution is needed in interpreting the results if they contain large proportions of coal particles. [References: 18]