Screening of polymers on selected Hawaii soils for erosion reduction and particle settling

James A. Teo, Chittaranjan Ray, Samir A. El-Swaify

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In recent years, high-molecular-weight anionic polyacrylamides (PAMs) have been tested on a variety of soils, primarily in temperate climates. However, little information is available regarding the effectiveness of PAM for preventing soil loss through runoff in tropical settings. Screening tests were performed using three negatively charged PAMs and one positively charged PAM on five Hawaii soils (two Oxisols, one Vertisol, and two Aridisols) to determine erosion loss, sediment settling, and aggregate stability. A laboratory-scale rainfall simulator was used to apply erosive rainfall at intensities from 5 to 8.5 cm h-1 at various PAM doses applied in both dry and solution forms. Soil detachment due to splash and runoff, as well as the runoff and percolate water volumes, were measured for initial and successive storms. The impact of PAM on particle settling and aggregate stability was also evaluated for selected soil-treatment combinations. Among the PAMs, Superfloc A-836 was most effective, and significantly reduced runoff and splash sediment loss for the Wahiawa Oxisol and Pakini Andisol at rates varying between 10 and 50 kg ha-1. Reduced runoff and splash sediment loss were also noted for PAM Aerotil-D when applied in solution form to the Wahiawa Oxisol. Significant reductions in soil loss were not noted for either the Lualualei Vertisol or the Holomua Oxisol. It is believed that the high montmorillonite content of the Lualualei Vertisol and the low cation-exchange capacity of the Holomua Oxisol diminished the effectiveness of the various PAMs tested. The polymers were also found to enhance sediment settling of all soils and helped improve their aggregate stability. This screening study shows the potential use of PAM for tropical soils for applications such as infiltration enhancement, runoff reduction, and enhanced sedimentation of detention ponds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Erosion
  • Infiltration
  • Particle settling
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Tropical soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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