Cation Exchange Capacity and Nanostructures.

Dreamy-eyed Kelsea shows us the power of pressure with these beautiful Hawaiian images from space. Just look at that lovely microclimate and cloud cover formed over the forested areas.

Volcanic soils are one of the most fertile due to their porous nature and ability to hold onto nutrients in those pores, and that can give them a high cation exchange capacity.

Cation exchange capacity differs by mineral type and nanostructure, with porous structures topping the list for highest surface area, followed by cubist materials like zeolite and then plates like clays. Soil organic matter tends to be a mix of these as microbes and microfauna remodel organic matter into these nanostructures. Organic matter has a high CEC for that reason.

An electron microscope image of an ash particle showing the porous cheese-like nano structure.


Kaolinite Clay

Compare these with Biochar made from different materials.

Many organic materials can also be pyrolysed and used in batteries and supercapacitors, even pollen! They often live a long time in soils where they can’t be oxidized. In soil glues like glomalin, inside of soil aggregates thanks to fungi, or deep in the soil where it’s anaerobic.


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