Eroded Particle-Size Distribution Analysis

EPA Grant Number: U915181
Title: Eroded Particle-Size Distribution Analysis
Investigators: Johns, Jason P.
Institution: Clemson University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 1998
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Agricultural Engineering , Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry


The objective of this research project is to determine the actual size of the particles that erode from a given soil during a runoff event. The actual eroded sediment size is needed to properly design sediment control structures.


The eroded particle-size distributions of 17 different topsoils found in South Carolina are to be determined using a rainfall simulator. The simulator used for this research is a portable simulator designed for onsite analysis. Eroded particle size research has been conducted at Clemson University using an offsite rainfall simulator. This research required onsite collections of disturbed soil samples. The previous research only considered a single rainfall intensity and one soil condition. The scope of my research project incorporates three different rainfall intensities and two soil conditions. The importance of this is that different rainfall intensities produce different eroded particle sizes. Also, different soil conditions, saturated or unsaturated, produce different eroded particle sizes. Sediment control structures are designed on the basis of a given storm intensity. Therefore, it is necessary to have eroded particle-size distribution information for different intensities. The topic of environmental importance involves comparing my results to the results of previous research work. If the two results are found to be similar, it could be concluded that the two rainfall simulators provide similar precision. The importance of this is that it is less time consuming to gather onsite samples and evaluate them with the offsite simulator. If the results differ, it could be concluded that the onsite rainfall simulator values are more accurate because this method does not involve removing the soil from its environment. This removal of the soil could possibly change the physical and chemical properties that affect the erodibility of certain particles.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, particle-size distribution, particles, soil, runoff, sediments, topsoil, South Carolina, SC, soil samples, eroded particles, soil condition, rainfall simulator.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final