A porous-matrix sensor to measure the matric potential of soil water in the field

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Whalley, W. R., Clark, L. J., Take, W. A., Bird, N. R. A., Leech, P. K., Cope, R. E. and Watts, C. W. 2007. A porous-matrix sensor to measure the matric potential of soil water in the field. European Journal of Soil Science. 58 (1), pp. 18-25. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2389.00790.x

AuthorsWhalley, W. R., Clark, L. J., Take, W. A., Bird, N. R. A., Leech, P. K., Cope, R. E. and Watts, C. W.
Abstract

The matric potential of soil water is probably the most useful assessment of soil water status. However, the water-filled tensiometer (the benchmark instrument for measuring matric potential) typically only operates in the range 0 to -85 kPa. In this paper, we report the development of a porous-matrix sensor to measure matric potential in the approximate range -50 to -300 kPa. The sensor uses a dielectric probe to measure the water content of a ceramic material with known water retention characteristics. The calculation of matric potential takes into account hysteresis through the application of an appropriate model to measured wetting and drying loops. It is important that this model uses closed, rather than open, scanning loops. The calibrated sensors were tested in the field and the output compared with data from water-filled tensiometers and dielectric measurements of soil water content. These comparisons indicated that conventional tensiometers gave stable but false readings of matric potential when soil dried to matric potentials more negative than -80 kPa. The porous-matrix sensors appeared to give reliable readings of matric potential in soil down to -300 kPa and also responded appropriately to repeated wetting and drying. This porous-matrix sensor has considerable potential to help understand plant responses to drying soil.

KeywordsSoil Science
Year of Publication2007
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Journal citation58 (1), pp. 18-25
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2389.00790.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code511
Project: 4691
Pore-scale modelling of soil structure and function
ISSN13510754
1351-0754
PublisherWiley

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/89vq0/a-porous-matrix-sensor-to-measure-the-matric-potential-of-soil-water-in-the-field

25 total views
0 total downloads
1 views this month
0 downloads this month