Investigation of cracking and water availability of soil-biochar composite synthesized from invasive weed water hyacinth.
Water hyacinth (WH), is one of the world's most intractable and invasive weed species. Recent studies explored the efficacy of this species as a biochar (BC) in improving soil fertility and metal adsorption. However, the soil water retention (SWR) property and crack potential of soil-WH biochar composite has still not been studied. The major objective of this study is to investigate the SWR property and corresponding crack intensity factor (CIF) for compacted soil-WH BC composites. Soil-WH BC composites at five percentages (0, 2, 5, 10 and 15) was compacted and soil parameters such as suction (ψ), water content and CIF were simultaneously monitored for 63 days (including 9 drying-wetting cycles). Results showed that soil-WH BC composite at all percentages retains more water (max. 19% and min. 6.53%) than bare soil at both saturated and drought conditions. Gradual inclusion of WH BC to soil decreases the CIF potential from 7% to 2.8%.