Pedosphere 31(1): 134--144, 2021
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2021 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Soil particle size range correction for improved calibration relationship between the laser-diffraction method and sieve-pipette method
Weiwen QIU, Wei HU, Denis CURTIN, Lidia MOTOI
New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch 8140(New Zealand)
      Particle size fraction (clay, silt, and sand) is an important characteristic that influences several soil functions. The laser-diffraction method (LDM) provides a fast and cost-effective measurement of particle size distribution, but the results usually differ from those obtained by the traditional sieve-pipette method (SPM). This difference can persist even when calibration is applied between the two methods. This partly relates to the different size ranges of particles measured by the two methods as a result of different operational principles, i.e., particle sedimentation according to Stokes' Law vs. Mie theory for laser beam scattering. The objective of this study was to identify particle size ranges of LDM equivalent to those measured by SPM and evaluate whether new calibration models based on size range correction can be used to improve LDM-estimated particle size fractions, using 51 soil samples with various texture collected from five soil orders in New Zealand. Particle size distribution was determined using both LDM and SPM. Compared with SPM, original data from LDM underestimated the clay fraction (< 2 μm), overestimated the silt fraction (2-53 μm), but provided a good estimation of the sand fraction (53-2 000 μm). Results from three statistical indices, including Pearson's correlation coefficient, slope, and Lin's concordance correlation coefficient, showed that the size ranges of < 2 and 2-53 μm defined by SPM corresponded with the < 5 and 5-53 μm size ranges by LDM, respectively. Compared with the traditional calibration (based on the same particle size ranges), new calibration models (based on the corrected size ranges of these two methods) improved the estimation of clay and silt contents by LDM. Compared with soil-specific models (i.e., different models were developed for different soils), a universal model may be more parsimonious for estimating particle size fractions if the samples to be assessed represent multiple soil orders.
Key Words:  laser diffraction,Lin's concordance correlation coefficient,particle size distribution,Pearson's correlation coefficient,sedimentation method,soil separate,soil texture
Citation: Qiu W, Hu W, Curtin D, Motoi L. 2021. Soil particle size range correction for improved calibration relationship between the laser-diffraction method and sieve-pipette method. Pedosphere. 31(1): 134-144.
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