E3S Web Conf.
Volume 195, 20204th European Conference on Unsaturated Soils (E-UNSAT 2020)
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Experimental Evidence and Techniques|
|Published online||16 October 2020|
Effect of wetting and drying on meniscus structures in hydrophobic sands
1 Institute for Infrastructure and the Environment, School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh. EH9 3JL, UK
2 Institute of Geoenergy Engineering, EGIS, Heriot-Watt University, EH14 4AS, UK
3 Institute for Infrastructure and the Environment, Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society, Heriot-Watt University EH14 4AS, UK
Hydrophobic soils can occur either naturally when particles are coated with plant-derived hydropho-bic organic compounds or if exposed to very high temperatures, or artificially if treated with contaminated water or chemicals in the laboratory. Hydrophobic soils can resist water infiltration, are associated with preferential flow and may lead to increased surface runoff and soil erosion. Traditional understanding of unsaturated hy-drophobic soils suggests that convex water menisci, and so positive water pressures, should form between soil particles, due to contact angles > 90◦. However, experimental results do not support this theory. The objective of this work was to study the changes in meniscus structures in hydrophobic sand specimens, as well as the overall response of the sand to wetting and drying cycles. A very uniform, fine silica sand was mixed with Dimethyldichlorosilane to induce water repellence. Successive images captured in an environmental scanning electron microscope are presented, to examine the response of the sand in two distinct drying and wetting cycles. Preliminary results show that the non-spherical nature of the sand particles prevent or hinder the formation of convex liquid bridges, despite the high contact angles. Rather, water droplets appear to expand only through droplet coalescence, which prevents structures from contracting on drying.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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