Scanning Microscopy


Low temperature scanning electron microscopy (LTSEM) is essential for studying the microstructure of small-sized soil constituents such as clays and organic matter. These hydrated and swelling materials naturally undergo drastic changes in water potential and water content in soils. The cryofixation of clays and organic macromolecules by immersion in cryogens and their LTSEM observation are evaluated. The microstructures of clay minerals, polysaccharide macromolecules and their associations, as revealed by LTSEM, contribute to a better understanding of the water retention properties and physical stabilities of these major soil constituents.

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