• Open Access

Nature of water-biochar interface interactions


Correspondence: Pellegrino Conte, tel. + 00 390 912 386 4673, fax + 00 390 914 840 35, e-mail: pellegrino.conte@unipa.it


A poplar biochar obtained by an industrial gasification process was saturated with water and analyzed using fast field cycling (FFC) NMR relaxometry in a temperature range between 299 and 353 K. Results revealed that the longitudinal relaxation rate increased with the increment of the temperature. This behavior was consistent with that already observed for paramagnetic inorganic porous media for which two different relaxation mechanisms can be accounted for: outer- and inner-sphere mechanisms. The former is due to water diffusing from the closest approach distance to infinity, whereas the second is due to water interacting by nonconventional H-bonds to the porous surface of the solid material. In particular, the inner-sphere relaxation appeared to be predominant in the water-saturated biochar used in the present study. This study represents a fundamental first step for the full comprehension of the role played by biochar in the draining properties of biochar-amended soils.