Specific surface captures the combined effects of particle size and slenderness in a measurement that is independent and complementary to grain-size distribution. There are various methods to measure specific surface, including gas adsorption in dry conditions and selective molecular absorption in aqueous suspensions. The measurement procedure can have an important effect on measured values, yet such sensitivity is informative in itself. The amount of surface in a soil mass determines the balance between surface-related forces and gravimetric–skeletal forces
acting on a soil particle, affects fabric formation, supports rich energy coupling mechanisms, governs conduction, and controls sorption and retardation during chemical diffusion.