This book is the culmination of an effort started in 1974 when the senior author started assembling information for a tropical soils course that he taught while on sabbatical leave at North Carolina State University. The literature cited throughout the book was current when the book went to press.
Soil systems contain mineral and organic materials that have constant or permanent surface charges, such as montmorillonite, or constant surface potentials, usually referred to as variable charge materials. Most soil systems contain some of both kinds. In the tropics, most of the minerals with permanent charge have been severely weathered. Consequently, the surface charge of the remaining material results from adsorption of potential determining ions. This book treats the mineralogy, chemistry, and physics of the variable charge minerals and soil organic matter.