Air-water interaction with soil

The process of air-water interaction with soil is the soil/sediment variant of the scavenging process occuring in air. The presence of air in soils has a huge effect on potential soil transport of nanoparticles. The exact reasons for this are unclear, but some hypothesize that nanoparticles are deposited at air/water interfaces in soils. Even though air-water interfaces are also charged and nanoparticles can thus attach to them in much the same way in which nanoparticles interact with surfaces, an additional surface tension term likely plays a role, which does not occur for classical attachment. Air-water interaction is most pronounced when a wetting front moves along the soil, potentially lifting up particles from soil surfaces.

Used for



Soil                                                                           Air


Fate descriptors 



NanoFASE Report D7.2 Soil property - NM fate relationships

               \(\LARGE f\)non-saturated


\(\huge \alpha\)

Attachment efficiency

Non-saturated correction factor                        Scavenging efficiency


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Consult the NanoFASE Library to see abstracts of these deliverable reports:  

NanoFASE Report D7.2 Soil property - NM fate relationships 

NanoFASE Report D7.4 Module for NM exposure prediction in soils to couple to overall framework  

Chen, L.; Sabatini, D. A.; Kibbey, T. C. G. Role of the Air–Water Interface in the Retention of TiO2 Nanoparticles in Porous Media during Primary Drainage. Environ. Sci. Tech. 2008, 42 (6), 1916-1921.





  Geert Cornelis

  Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)