Soil Wettability as Determined from Using Low-Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Manalo, F.P., Langford, C.H. and Kantzas, A.

DOI: 10.1021/es0259685
Environ. Sci. Technol., 37(12), May 2003, Pages 2701-2706.


The molarity of ethanol droplet and water drop penetration time methods are commonly used to determine soil wettability because these tests are quick and easy to perform. However, these tests do not provide reproducible results on the same sample. Low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is shown as an alternative tool to determine soil wettability. Addition of small amounts of water in dry wettable porous media produces predominant amplitude peaks at transverse relaxation times (T2) of 100 ms or less while addition of water in dry water-repellent porous media with the same pore structure produce predominant amplitude peaks at T2 values near 1000 ms. The geometric mean of T2 (T2gm) from water-repellent samples immediately after the addition of water is greater than 1000 ms, which is close to that of bulk water, while T2gm from wettable samples immediately after the addition of water is significantly less than 1000 ms. Measurements over time show that water-repellent samples eventually reach the same equilibrium end point as its corresponding wettable sample when continually exposed to water. This paper will show that NMR can be used to formulate a screening criterion for quickly determining wettability. The advantage of using NMR is that the results are reproducible provided the sample is prepared and analyzed in a systematic manner.

A full version of this paper is available on ACS Online.