Water infiltration into subcritical water-repellent soils with time-dependent contact angle

Zhongfu Wang, Rony Wallach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Soil water repellency, defined as the situation in which the affinity of soils to water is reduced, has been reported for many natural and agricultural soils worldwide. Soil water repellency has significant impacts on hydrology and geomorphology. It has been widely observed that the contact angle (CA) of a sessile water drop placed on a single-layer surface of water-repellent soil particles decreases in an exponential manner with time. This time-dependent CA has a substantial effect on flow in water-repellent soils. However, mathematical models aimed at modeling water flow in water-repellent soils disregard the time-dependent CA's effect. The current study aims to correct this omission. Using capillary rise of water with a time-dependent CA in a capillary tube, a model for water infiltration into subcritical water-repellent soils (CA < 90°) was developed. This model was successfully verified by performing infiltration experiments into (packed) coated glass beads. The CA at the wetting front during infiltration decreased exponentially to equilibrium, and the time to equilibrium was similar to that measured for a reference single layer of coated glass beads. Simulations for subcritical water-repellent soils with time-dependent CA yielded an infiltration rate that is either increasing with time (noted as concave) or initially increases and afterward decreases (noted as a concave-convex pattern).

Original languageAmerican English
Article number126044
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Amphiphilic molecule reorientation
  • Concave-convex infiltration pattern
  • Modified Green–Ampt model
  • Subcritical water-repellent soil
  • Time-dependent contact angle


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