Environmental Earth Sciences

, 78:648 | Cite as

Effects of superabsorbent polymers on the vertical infiltration of soil water with sand mulching

  • Wenju ZhaoEmail author
  • Jiazhen Hu
  • Zhen Cui
  • Pinxin Dou
  • Yanwei Fan
Original Article


Superabsorbent polymer (SAP) is a kind of polymer with advantages like high water absorption and conservation. We studied the effect of various concentrations of SAPs on the infiltration of soil water with sand mulching. Five soil columns with surface sand mulch and evenly distributed SAPs at concentrations of 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 and 1.0% were tested. The SAPs slowed the migration of the wetting front and thus the rate of infiltration of water, and the higher the SAP concentration, the slower the migration. The relationship between the wetting front displacement and time could be described by a logarithmic function, \(Z_{f} = at^{b}\). The amount of cumulative infiltration was inversely proportional to the amount of SAPs. The final cumulative infiltration was proportional to the amount of SAPs, within a limited range. The relationship between cumulative infiltration and time was described by a power function, \(I = ct^{d}\). The relationship between wetting front displacement and cumulative infiltration could be characterized by a linear equation, \(I = KZ_{f} + E\), indicating that the rate of cumulative infiltration increased with the amount of SAPs for the same infiltration depth, which satisfied the Kostiakov model (\(i = Bt^{ - A}\)). High concentrations of SAPs strongly inhibited the infiltration of water. The infiltration rate of soil water was optimal at a SAP concentration of 0.2%, which effectively increased the amount of water in the soil.


Sand Superabsorbent polymers Wetting front Infiltration Kostiakov model 



The research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (51869010), Guidance Program for Industrial Support of Colleges and Universities in Gansu Province (2019C-13), Longyuan Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Project and the Lanzhou University of Technology Hongliu first-class discipline funding.


  1. Bai WB, Li MS, Zhao HR, Liu BC, Wu YF, Song JQ (2010) Effect of super absorbent polymer on the ponding infiltration characteristics of soil water. Scientia Agficultura Sinica 43(24):5055–5062Google Scholar
  2. Barvenik FW (1994) Polyacrylamide characteristics related to soil applications. Soil Sci 158(4):235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ekebafe LO, Ogbeifun DE, Okieimen FE (2011) Polymer applications in agriculture. Biokemistri 2:81–89Google Scholar
  4. Han YG, Yang PL, Luo YP, Ren SM, Zhang LX, Xu L (2010) Porosity change model for watered super absorbent polymers-treated soil. Environ Earth Sci 61(6):1197–1205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Han JC, Xie JC, Zhang Y (2012) Potential role of feldspathic sandstone as a natural water retaining agent in Mu Us Sandy Land, Northwest China. Chin Geogr Sci 22(5):550–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Han YG, Wu HF, Yang PL, Ding T, Xin XH, Sun M, Song H, Li YY (2013) Dynamic effects of super absorbent polymer on physical properties and water infiltration of soil. Agric Res Arid Areas 31(5):161–167Google Scholar
  7. Huang ZB, Sun PC, Zhong J, Chen YF (2016) Application of super absorbent polymer in water and fertilizer conversation of soil and pollution management. Trans Chin Soc Agric Eng 32(1):125–131Google Scholar
  8. Islam MR, Hu YG, Fei C, Qian X, Eneji AE, Xue XZ (2011) Application of superabsorbent polymer: a new approach for wheat (Triticum aestivum l.) production in drought-affected areas of northern china. J Food Agric Environ 9(1):1624–1625Google Scholar
  9. Lee LM, Kassim A, Gofar N (2011) Performances of two instrumented laboratory models for the study of rainfall infiltration into unsaturated soils. Eng Geol 117(1–2):78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Li XY (2003) Gravel-sand mulch for soil and water conservation in the semiarid loess region of northwest China. CATENA 52:105–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Li Y, Ren X, Horton R (2012) Influence of various soil textures and layer positions on infiltration characteristics of layered soils. J Drain Irrig Mach Eng 30(4):485–490Google Scholar
  12. Li R, Zhang KD, Chen JY (2016) Characteristics of soil water infiltration under non-pressure subirrigation. J Water Saving Irrig 43(4):37–40Google Scholar
  13. Liao RK, Wu WY, Ren SM (2016) Yang PL (2016) Effects of superabsorbent polymers on the hydraulic parameters and water retention properties of soil. J Nanomat 9:37Google Scholar
  14. Lü H, Yu Z, Horton R, Zhu Y, Zhang J, Jia Y, Yang C (2013) Effect of gravel-sand mulch on soil water and temperature in the semiarid loess region of Northwest China. J Hydrol Eng 18(11):1484–1494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Micheal SJ, Comelis JV (1985) Structure and functioning of water-storing agricultural polyamides. J Sci Food Agric 36(9):789–793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Reddy KS, Vijayalakshmi Maruthi V, Nemichandrappa Umesha B (2015) Influence of super absorbent polymers on infiltration characteristics of alfisols in semi-arid region. Indian J Dryland Agric Res Dev 30(2):11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wang M, Chen SC, Wang J, Ge N, Jia X, Huang X, Zhang W (2015) Effect of super absorbent polymer on the vertical distribution of soil moisture under different thickness of overlying sand. J Soil Water Conserv 29(3):38–42Google Scholar
  18. Wei J, Yang H, Cao H, Tan T (2015) Using polyaspartic acid hydro-gel as water retaining agent and its effect on plants under drought stress. Saudi J Biol Sci 23(5):654–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Yang L, Han Y, Yang P, Wang CZ, Yang SM, Kuang SY, Yuan HZ, Xiao CY (2015a) Effects of superabsorbent polymers on infiltration and evaporation of soil moisture under point source drip irrigation. Irrig Drain 64(2):121–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yang LL, Han YG, Yang PL, Wang CZ, Yang SM, Kuang SY, Yuan HZ, Xiao CY (2015b) Effects of superabsorbent polymers on infiltration and evaporation of soil moisture under point source drip irrigation. Irrig Drain 64(2):275–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zhao Y, Su H, Fang L, Tan T (2005) Superabsorbent hydrogels from poly(aspartic acid) with salt-, temperature-and pH-responsiveness properties. Polymer 46(14):5368–5376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zhao WJ, Cui Z, Li N (2016a) Scale dependency of spatial variability of soil moisture in gravel-mulched field. Environ Earth Sci 75(22):1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zhao WJ, Dou PX, Ma XY, Ma H, Yu W (2016b) Effects of water retaining agent application on evaporation from soils covered with gravel. Res Agric Mod 379(1):182–186Google Scholar
  24. Li, R., Zhang, KD, Chen JY (2016) Characteristics of Soil Water Infiltration under Non-pressure Subirrigation. J Water Saving Irrigation (4):37-40, 43Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Energy and Power EngineeringLanzhou University of TechnologyLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations