Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
The weakest link between particles or aggregates determines the strength of soil. We have re-examined the theory and, as a result, have re-defined friability, F, as the coefficient of variation of soil tensile strength. The formal relationship between the parameter 1/α of the weakest link theory of strength, which has previously been used as a measure of friability, and the newly defined measure, F, is described by a simple equation which has an accuracy of within 2% over the range of interest. The quantity F is used to show that friability reaches maximum at water contents around the lower plastic limit, that mechanical disturbance of wet soil by tillage reduces the friability, and that friability is strongly positively correlated with the organic carbon content of the soil. These results show the merit of measuring friability for determining the optimum water content for tillage, for quantifying the damage done by different tillage practices, and as a theoretically based index of soil physical quality.
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