Geosciences Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 175–181

Role of organic matter on electroosmotic properties and ionic modification of organic soils

  • Afshin Asadi
  • Bujang B. K. Huat
  • Mohamed M. Hanafi
  • Thamer A. Mohamed
  • Nader Shariatmadari


Organic soils represent accumulations of disintegrated plant remains that have been preserved under condition of incomplete aeration and high water content. Using electrokinetic (EK) techniques to improve organic soils entails evaluating factors that define geoenvironmental behavior of organic soils. Electroosmotic properties were investigated to conceptualize EK phenomena. The results of the study showed that the zeta potential, specific surface area, water contents, and liquid limit (LL) increased as the organic content increased. The natural zeta potential of the organic soils varied from −11.2 to −20.8 mV according to the organic content, degree of humification, and soil pH. The negative charge in organic soils is highly pH dependent and surface charge is dropped to zero at pH 2.3 to 3.5. The greater degree of humification resulted in the higher zeta potential and lower pH at the iso-electric point. This paper also gives some insights on ionic modification, which is an innovative method that could be employed to change the water holding capacity of organic soils and its consistency. The Fe+3 ions had 20 to 30% pronounced effect on decreasing LL according to the organic content. Increasing the cation valence reduces the affinity of water to the organic soil surface and decreases LL as a major part of Atterberg’s consistency system. By the sound of peat and its environment, there is a great likelihood that EK techniques could be used to resolve peat’s difficulties from the geoenvironmental viewpoint.

Key words

CEC EK phenomena homoionic modification organic soils peat soils zeta potential 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acar, Y.B. and Alshawabkeh, A.N., 1993, Principles of Electrokinetic Remediation. Environmental Science and Technology, 27, 2638–2647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alcantara, T., Pazos, M., Cameselle, C., and Sanroman, M. A., 2008, Electrochemical remediation of phenanthrene from contaminated kaolinite. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 30, 89–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnepalli, D.N., Shanthakumar, S., Rao, B.H. and Singh, D.N., 2008, Comparison of Methods for Determining Specific-surface Area of Fine-grained Soils. Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, 26, 121–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asavadorndeja, P. and Glawe, U., 2005, Electrokinetic strengthening of soft clay using the anode depolarization method. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment, 64, 237–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ASTM Standard, 1985, ASTM D4187-82: Zeta Potential of Colloids in Water and Waste Water. American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  6. Azzam, A. and Oey, W., 2001, The utilization of electrokinetics in geotechnical and environmental engineering. Transport in Porous Media, 42, 293–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beddiar, K., Chong, T.F., Dupas, A., Berthaud, Y., and Dangla, P., 2005, Role of pH in Electro-Osmosis: Experimental Study on NaCl-Water Saturated Kaolinite. Transport in Porous Media, 61, 93–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowen, W., Jacob, P., and Dupas, A., 1986, Electro-osmosis and the determination of zeta potential: the effect of particle concentration. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 111, 223–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. British Standard Institution, 1990, Methods of test for soils for civil engineering purposes. BS 1377–1990: Part 1, 2, and 3, London, 133 p.Google Scholar
  10. Chapman, H.D., 1965, Cation exchange capacity. In: Black, C.A. (ed.), Methods of soil analysis — Chemical and microbiological properties. Agronomy, 9, 891–901.Google Scholar
  11. Castillo, A.M., Soriano, J.J., and Delgado, R.A.G., 2008, Changes in chromium distribution during the electrodialytic remediation of a Cr(VI)-contaminated soil. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 30, 153–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duraisamy, Y., Huat, B.K., and Aziz, A.A., 2007, Methods of Utilizing Tropical Peat Land for Housing Scheme. American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 3, 258–263.Google Scholar
  13. Eykholt, G.R. and Daniel, D.E., 1994, Impact of system chemistry on electroosmosis in contaminated soil. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, ASCE, 120, 797–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fang, H.Y. and Daniels, J.L., 2006, Introductory Geotechnical Engineering-An environmental perspective. Taylor and Francis, New York, 545 p.Google Scholar
  15. Ferris, A. and Jepson, W., 1975, The exchange capacities of kaolinite and preparation of homoionic clays. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 51, 245–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fuchsman, C.H., 1986, Peat and Water: aspects of water retention and dewatering in peat. Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd., New York, 95–118.Google Scholar
  17. Gillman, G.P. and Sumpter, E.A., 1986, Modification to compulsive exchange method for measuring exchange characteristics of soils. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 24, 61–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Han, S-J., Kim, S-S., and Kim, B-I., 2004, Electroosmosis and pore pressure development characteristics in lead contaminated soil during electrokinetic remediation. Geosciences Journal, 8, 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Helmholtz, H., 1879, Studien über electrische grenzschichten. Annalen der Physik, 7, 337–382.Google Scholar
  20. Huat, B.K., 2004, Organic and Peat Soils Engineering. University Putra Malaysia Press, Serdang, 146 p.Google Scholar
  21. Huat, B.K., Maail, S., and Mohamed, T.A., 2005, Effect of Chemical Admixtures on the Engineering Properties of Tropical Peat Soils. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 2, 1113–1120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hunter, R.J., 1981, Zeta potential in colloid science. Academic Press, London, 386 p.Google Scholar
  23. Kennedy, P. and Geel, P.J.V., 2000, Hydraulics of Peat Filters Treating Septic Tank Effluent. Transport in Porous Media, 41, 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kim, S.O., Kim, W.S., and Kim, K.W., 2005, Evaluation of electrokinetic remediation of arsenic-contaminated soils. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 27, 443–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee, G., Ro, H., Lee, S., and Lee, S., 2006, Electrokinetically enhanced transport of organic and inorganic phosphorus in a low permeability soil. Geosciences Journal, 10, 85–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee, M.H., Kamon, M., Kim, S.S., Lee, J.Y., and Chung, H.I., 2007, Desorption characteristics of kaolin clay contaminated with zinc from electrokinetic soil processing. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 29, 281–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lorenz, P.B., 1969, Surface Conductance and Electrokinetic Properties of Kaolinite Beds. Clays and Clay Minerals, 17, 223–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Madaeni, S.S., Naghdi, S., and Nobili, M.D., 2006, Ultrafiltration of Humic Substances in the Presence of Protein and Metal Ions. Transport in Porous Media, 65, 469–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mitchell, J.K., 1993, Fundamentals of Soil Behavior. 2nd edition, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 437 p.Google Scholar
  30. Park, J-Y., Chen, Y., Chen, J., and Yang, J-W., 2002, Removal of phenanthrene from soil by additive-enhanced electrokinetics. Geosciences Journal, 6, 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mohamed, A.M.O. and Anita, H.E., 1998, Developments in Geotechnical Engineering. Geoenvironmental Engineering, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 707 p.Google Scholar
  32. Santamarina, J.C., Klein, K.A., Wang, Y.H., and Prencke, E., 2002, Specific surface area: determination and relevance. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 39, 233–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shi, L., Muller, S., Harms, H., and Wick, L.Y., 2008, Effect of electrokinetic transport on the vulnerability of PAH-degrading bacteria in a model aquifer. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 30, 177–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smoluchowski, von M., 1921, Handbuch der Elektrizitat un der Magnetismus II, 2, 366–428.Google Scholar
  35. Stevenson, F.J., 1994, Humus Chemistry: Genesis, Composition, Reactions. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 496 p.Google Scholar
  36. Vane, M.L. and Zang, G.M., 1997, Effect of aqueous phase properties on clay particle zeta potential and electroosmotic permeability: Implications for electrokinetic remediation processes. Electrochemical Decontamination of Soil and Water, Special Issue of Journal of Hazardous Material, 55, 1–22.Google Scholar
  37. West, L.J. and Stewart, D.I., 1995, Effect of zeta potential on soil electrokinetics. Characterization, containment, remediation, and performance in environmental geotechnics, Geotechnical Special Publication No. 46, ASCE, New York, 2, 1535–1549.Google Scholar
  38. Weng, C.H. and Yuan, C., 2001, Removal of Cr(III) from Clay Soils by Electrokinetics. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 23, 281–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wick, L.Y., Shi, L., and Harms, H., 2007, Electrobioremediation of hydrophobic organic soil contaminants: A review of fundamental interactions. Electrochimica Acta, 52, 3441–3448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Association of Korean Geoscience Societies 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Afshin Asadi
    • 1
  • Bujang B. K. Huat
    • 1
  • Mohamed M. Hanafi
    • 2
  • Thamer A. Mohamed
    • 1
  • Nader Shariatmadari
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.Institute of Tropical AgricultureUniversity Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  3. 3.College of Civil EngineeringIran University of Science and TechnologyTehranIran

Personalised recommendations