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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 1, p. 120-123
    Received: Jan 11, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): sprior@acesag.auburn.edu
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A Pneumatic Device for Lifting Containers in Plant Water Use Studies

  1. S. A. Prior *,
  2. G. B. Runion,
  3. T. S. Kornecki and
  4. H. H. Rogers
  1. USDA-ARS Natl. Soil Dynamics Lab., 411 South Donahue Dr., Auburn, AL 36832-5806


Direct gravimetric determinations of whole-plant water use in container studies can be time consuming due to the tremendous labor required to physically lift containers for placement on weighing scales. Our objective was to design and construct a container-weighing system that could be rapidly deployed and required little physical labor. A custom-made support frame, equipped with a pneumatic lifting cylinder connected to a hanging scale, was constructed to lift large plastic containers (45 L) filled with a coarse sandy medium (>70 kg when saturated with water). Custom lifting arms designed to catch the handles of the plastic containers were constructed for attachment to the scale. The support frame weighing apparatus was positioned over the container, and the pneumatic lifting cylinder was activated only after lifting arms had been attached to the plastic container. As many as 25 large plastic containers could be weighed per hour with this system. The weighing system has been successfully used to follow plant water use patterns over time.

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