Soil Research Soil Research Society
Soil, land care and environmental research

The four laws of soil chemistry: the Leeper lecture 1998

N. J. Barrow

Australian Journal of Soil Research 37(5) 787 - 830
Published: 1999


The proposed 4 laws of soil chemistry are: ions react with charged surfaces; soil surfaces are heterogeneous; an initial adsorption reaction is followed by a penetration of the adsorbed ions into the interior of the reacting particles; and it is impossible to re-apply fertiliser to the same soil because the soil has changed. These laws can explain the observed behaviour of the reactions of cations and anions with soil. These include the effects of the level of application, period of reaction, effects of temperature, interactions between pH and salt concentration, desorption, and the isotopic exchangeability.

© CSIRO 1999

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