Particle Size Analysis for Optimizing Soil Liming
Humanity has been utilizing lime as an agrochemical for millennia. As early as 2800 BC, Celtic Britons were known to pulverize bulk chalk or limestone into a granulated powder and spread it across the topsoil of crop fields. This rudimentary fertilizer reacted with acidic soils, neutralizing their pH levels through the release of hydroxide ions, thus increasing their alkalinity. Use of the mineral in farming has been refined over the years, with advanced particle size analysis techniques providing a baseline for optimal soil liming procedures.
The acidification of agricultural soils remains a factor in modern farming practices. For example, nitrogen-rich fertilizers that are spread over crops saturate soils and alter their biochemical characteristics, changing the solubility of common organic minerals that can subsequently impact the pH levels of the soil. This is problematic as soil pH levels are critical factors that affect crop yields.
Agricultural lime is still pervasively used to counter the problem of over-acidity in soil. This ancient technique has been significantly refined using particle size analysis to determine optimal lime consistencies, as well as the frequency and method of lime application.Particle Size Analysis of Lime
Particle size analysis is ubiquitous measurement technique used to supplement an enormous range of industrial, academic, and commercial sectors. Intensive farms with suitable degrees of investment routinely use particle size analysis for soil characterization and to assess the quality of agrochemical materials.
Historically it was accepted that lime particles of below 0.25 mm were universally effective at neutralizing the pH levels of acidic soils. New methods of particle size analysis and a broader acceptance of the benefits of measuring the particle dimensions of agricultural lime powders have disproven this established theory.
Finer powder consistencies with decreased individual particle sizes display an increased overall surface area and a higher rate of solubility. This improves the rates at which lime dissolves in the soil with little impact on the effectiveness of the mineral to raise the alkalinity of the soil. In fact, finer lime consistencies have displayed increased efficacy compared to coarser lime powders that were applied to fields in heavier intensities. The benefits of particle size analysis for agricultural lime are therefore self-explanatory.Techniques for Particle Size Analysis of Agrochemicals
Particle size analysis is a ubiquitous measurement technique performed using an array of measurement instruments. The Beckman Coulter LS 13 320 XR uses laser diffraction particle size analysis to assess the dimensions of particles across a dynamic range of 10 nanometers (nm) – 3,000 micrometers (μm). The Mercury Scientific Revolution powder flow analyzer, meanwhile, characterizes the particle properties of powdered solid materials as a result of its flow characteristics. Each method can be used to optimize the consistency of lime material for soil alkylation.