A device for determining the sorptivity of soil aggregates



A device that infiltrated water over a small circular surface area having a radius ranging between 1.45 mm and 2.5 mm was used to measure the sorptivity of initially air-dry aggregates of size greater than 20 mm. The small infiltration area caused the water uptake to be dominated by capillarity that allowed the use of a simple formula to obtain the sorptivity from the steady-state flow rate that occurred very early after the start of imbibition. The results of measurements of sorptivity made on a fine sand agreed with those obtained from measurements on one-dimensional water infiltration into columns of the sand. Sorptivity measurements on stabilized aggregates of a clay soil and on air-dried field aggregates of a clay soil were easily made. The simplicity and rapidity of the method allowed measurements to be conveniently replicated.