Description: On 27 November 2012, a bulk biochar sample was received for characterization of selected physical and chemical properties. The main purpose of the characterization was to help determine the degree to which biochar would be suitable as a soil amendment to aid in growth of plants. Towards this end, analyses to determine specific surface, pH, cation-exchange capacity, water retention, and wettability (i.e. surface tension) were conducted. A second objective was to determine how uniform these properties were in the sample. Towards this end, the sample was separated into fractions based on initial particle size and on whether the material was from the external surface or the internal portion of the particle. Based on the results, the biochar has significant liming potentials, significant cation-retention capacities, and highly variable plant-available moisture retention properties that, under the most favorable circumstances, could be helpful to plants. As a consequence, it would be quite suitable for addition to acidic soils and should enhance the fertility of those soils.
Date: April 9, 2013
Creator: Amonette, James E.
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