I study artificial soil mixtures. These are artificial only in the sense that they have been deliberately blended for a specified purpose. Mixing materials together to create a material that doesn’t occur in nature is one of humankind’s greatest ideas. Steel, glass, and paper are just a few simple examples of “engineered” materials.
We mix different soils together to produce a material having better physical or chemical properties than its constituents do on their own.
I liken this practice to cooking a pot of soup or spaghetti sauce. Each ingredient tastes just OK by itself, but when you combine them together you get something totally new and much better than the sum of its proverbial parts.
Below is a simple app I built to calculate the component masses of a sand-clay mix. Soils are usually blended by loose bulk volume, but this is not precise enough for research purposes. To get a precise % sand in the final mix, one must account for the fact that even pure sand usually contains some measurable amount of particles < 53 μm and the clay soil also contains some sand-size particles. The hygroscopic water content of each soil must also be considered.
I published my master’s project in the 2017 edition of the ITS journal and Sports Turf Magazine (now known as Sports Field Management).
I have not yet published any of my PhD research in refereed journals, but you can follow our project through other means on this site’s videos page, or on Twitter. Stay tuned for more data soon!