Here is a brief description of these terms. Later, we'll go into more detail, showing how
these effects can be of benefit to your soil and crops.
school when yourscience teacher may have demonstrated howwater could be transformed
into explosive hydrogen gas…this was a demonstration of electrolysis, or the splitting of
water into its elemental parts.
Osmosis is another scientific term that many people have heard about, most likely in
the context of water purification via reverse-osmosis. Osmosis refers to the movement
of water-soluble molecules through or blocked by a semi-permeable membrane. In water
purification, reverse osmosis is used to separate undesired substances out of water using a
blocking other particles from passing through.
Electro-osmosis is an interesting effect - the electrically-driven movement of water that
occurs when an electric field is applied across some amount of moist soil or sand.
The next three terms are ones that you've probably never heard of. Electro-kinetics and
electro-migration are terms that basically mean the same thing. In essence, these terms
refer to the movement of ions or molecules in response to an applied electric field.
way of example, in the biomedical industry, a technique called gel electrophoresis is used
to separate complex molecules like proteins, by charge or size. It is also used in genetics
research as a way of sorting mixed populations of DNA fragments.
So the purpose of this chapter is to cover the basics of these methods, describing how each
of these effects become present in soils under electrical influence.
We'll start by exploring the electrolysis reaction, followed by a brief explanation of the
conductive nature of soils. From there, we'll dive into the other relevant electrochemical
mechanisms mentioned above.