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An Automated Approach to Measuring Soil Hydraulic Conductivity

January 30, 2015 1:06 pm

Measuring soil saturated or unsaturated hydraulic conductivity can be a tedious and boring process. The typical method is to set up the infiltrometer or Guelph permeameter in the desired location, and then watch the water level in the tubes slowly decrease, noting depths with a ruler and time with a stop watch. This process on some soils can take several hours. Consulting engineers, let alone undergraduate students, cannot afford to spend so much time on this inefficient yet critical measurement.

Decagon Device’s Mini Disk Infiltrometer is an excellent instrument to measure soil unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, but it does require the user to manually record the data with a stopwatch, pad and pen, often taking several hours.

ICT International has automated the measurement process with the AIM1 Automatic Infiltration Meter. The AIM1 automatically calculates depth measurements in a tension infiltrometer and records these data, along with a time stamp, in the data logger. These data can then be downloaded as a csv file for further analysis and manipulation to calculate hydraulic conductivity and other parameters.

Scientists at ICT International have determined soil unsaturated hydraulic conductivity for several soil types using the AIM1 and the report can be found by clicking here.

The AIM1 Automatic Infiltration Meter consists of a tension infiltrometer and data logger.