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Estimating Soil Hydraulic Conductivity and Macroscopic Capillary Length from the Disk Infiltrometer
- Zhang, Renduo
- Soil Science Society of America journal 1998 v.62 no.6 pp. 1513-1521
- soil analysis, hydraulic conductivity, estimation, infiltrometers, mathematical models, equations, methodology
- The disk infiltrometer is increasingly used to measure in situ soil hydraulic properties in the field. Several procedures have been proposed for determining soil hydraulic conductivity from disk infiltrometer data. However, the procedures require steady-state infiltration rates at several tensions, which limits their applications in the field. In this study, two methods were developed to estimate soil hydraulic conductivity and macroscopic capillary length using soil water fluxes at any infiltration time under the disk infiltrometer. The proposed procedures do not require steady-state infiltration rates but infiltration data at any time. Therefore, the time required for field infiltrometer experiments can be dramatically reduced. Meanwhile the new procedures provide high estimation accuracy of soil hydraulic conductivity and macroscopic capillary length. Extensive numerically simulated data were used to examine the methods for various soils and different radii and tensions of the disk infiltrometer. The proposed methods are especially useful for estimating soil hydraulic conductivity and macroscopic capillary length of fine-textured soils, using infiltration data collected during a short experiment period with a relatively large infiltrometer.