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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

A Compact Constant-Head Permeameter for Measuring Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity of the Vadose Zone


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 53 No. 5, p. 1356-1361
    Received: Aug 9, 1988

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. A. Amoozegar 
  1. Dep. of Soil Science, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695-7619



Most procedures for determination of saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) of the vadose zone are difficult to perform and time consuming. Recent developments have shown that Ks can be determined by the constant-head well permeameter technique with a few liters of water in less than 30 min using small-diameter auger holes. A compact constant-head (CCH) permeameter is designed for maintaining a constant height of water (>5 cm) at the bottom of a 4- to 10-cm-diam. hole in the unsaturated zone, and measuring the amount of water flowing into the hole. The main unit of the CCH permeameter is used for measuring Ks from the soil surface to a depth of 2 m. To determine Ks below 2-m depth a special flow-measuring reservoir, equipped with a portable pressure transducer, is connected to the device and inserted to the bottom of the hole. The CCH permeameter has a water-holding capacity of 5 L, can be used on any landscape position without an external support, and can be easily transported in the field. The device has been tested in the laboratory and field, and is capable of delivering a maximum flow rate of 3 × 10−6 m3 s−1.

Contribution from the Dep. of Soil Science, North Carolina State Univ. Paper no. 11743 of the Journal Series of the North Carolina Agric. Res. Serv., Raleigh, NC 27695-7643.

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