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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 52 No. 1, p. 292-295
    Received: Feb 18, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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A Method for Measuring Hydraulic Properties of Brittle Soil Horizons

  1. H. R. J. Vroon,
  2. L. W. Dekker and
  3. J. M. H. Hendrickx 
  1. Department of Soil Physics, Soil Survey Inst., P.O. Box 98, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands



A method is presented for measuring hydraulic properties of undisturbed samples of brittle soil horizons oriented vertically or horizontally. A soil pedestal is carved out in situ and covered with a mixture of nitrocellulose lacquer and thinner. The saturated hydraulic conductivity is measured by infiltrating water into the exposed upper surface and by collecting it below the exposed lower surface of the pedestal. In brittle soil horizons, the method yielded more representative conductivity values than the method that uses steel cylinders for taking “undisturbed” soil cores. Measurements of water retention and hydraulic conductivities showed that the latter method often disturbed the structure of the sample. Therefore, artificially high conductivity values were obtained. The method presented allows measurement of vertical and horizontal conductivities and soil-water retention using the same sample. The method is simple and allows adjusting the sample volume to the phenomenon under study. Therefore, the method facilitates the study of hydraulic properties of brittle horizons, such as sandy humus hardpans.

Contribution from the Soil Survey Inst.

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