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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Calibration and Characteristics of Two Neutron Moisture Probes1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 25 No. 5, p. 329-334
    Received: Nov 22, 1960
    Accepted: Mar 13, 1961

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  1. C. H. M. van Bavel,
  2. D. R. Nielsen and
  3. J. M. Davidson2



The effect of the size of cylindrical containers filled with soil on the calibration of two types of neutron probes was investigated for moisture contents up to 0.25 volume fraction. Neutron count rates were appreciably affected by the value of both diameter and height up to 3 feet. Differences between 3 and 4 feet were samll.

The response of the end-source probe was linear within the range investigated (0 to 0.40 volume fraction). The data also show that the end-source probe design as compared with the centered-source design is more efficient and, therefore, requires a smaller radioactive source for equal precision.

Once an accurate calibration with soil is available, verifying calibration of probes may be done with NaCl or H3BO3 solutions, limited to probes of identical design but differing efficiencies or source strengths. Relations found between soil moisture content and solution concentration are given.

A discussion of the range of measurement of soil moisture content with neutron probes is presented, comparing various literature data.

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