Leader: Prof. DSc Zofia Sokołowska
Team: Prof. DSc Grzegorz Józefaciuk; Assoc. Prof. DSc Alicja Szatanik-Kloc; PhD Patrycja Boguta; PhD Kamil Skic; PhD Katarzyna Szewczuk-Karpisz; MSc Patrycja Krasucka; MSc Agnieszka Tomczyk; MSc Marta Cybulak; Prof. DSc Jerzy Lipiec; Prof. DSc Bogusław Usowicz
Soil is a very complex polydispersive, multiphase, multi-component and nonequilibrium system. Processes and phenomena occurring on the boundaries of solid-liquid and gas phases differ from those occurring in bulk phases due to the presence of surface forces. Knowledge of their nature is of primary interest for the understanding and control of different soil processes on micro and macro-scale. For example, water transport, permeability and retention are governed by soil solid phase wettability, surface free energy, surface area, microporosity, swelling of clay minerals, hydrophilic/hydrophobic character of soil organic matter, hydration of surface cations, surface charge, micro and macrostructure and some others.
Surface of solid phase of soil and plant roots are highly non-uniform. Analysis of gas or vapour adsorption isotherm is probably the easiest method to characterize such surfaces. From the isotherm one can estimate an overall amount of the surface (surface area) of the solid as well as its energetic and geometric heterogeneities and microporosity.
Application of potentiometric titration method enables to determination of CEC value (cation exchange capacity) as well as heterogeneity degree of surface charge. The surface charge is the expression of the dissociation reaction of surface functional groups. Relative number of surface functional groups of varied acidity can be changed under influence of stress factors (among others: low environment pH, heavy metals concentration).
Releasing and migration of organic compounds including humic substances, has effect on transport of nutrients, heavy metals and organic pollutants. Interactions between metals and humic acids are complex. The mechanism of this process is depended on many factors, first of all: properties of humic acids, kind of metal, it concentration and pH of environment. The studies are carried out with application of the following methods and instrumental techniques: absorption atomic spectrometry, UV-VIS, turbidymetry, potentiometric titration, elemental analysis, fluorescence spectroscopy, FTIR as well as TOC measurements.