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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Comparison of Six Methods To Determine Unsaturated Soil Hydraulic Conductivity


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 6, p. 1596-1603
    Received: June 21, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. J. Stolte ,
  2. J. M. Halbertsma,
  3. G. J. Veerman,
  4. J. H. M. Wösten,
  5. J. I. Freijer,
  6. W. Bouten,
  7. C. Dirksen,
  8. J. C. Van Dam and
  9. J. A. Van den Berg
  1. DLO, Winand Staring Centre for Integrated Land, Soil and Water Research (SC-DLO), P.O. Box 125, 6700 AC Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Landscape and Environmental Research Group, Univ. of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130 1018 VZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Dep. Water Resources, Agric. Univ. Wageningen, Nieuwe Kanaal 11 6709 PA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Dep. Physical Geography, Utrecht Univ., P.O. Box 80.115 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands



Knowledge of soil hydraulic properties is required for soil-water flow models. Although many studies of individual methods exist, comparisons of methods are uncommon. Therefore, we compared application ranges and results for six laboratory methods for determining hydraulic conductivity or diffusivity on eolian sand, eolian silt loam, marine sandy loam, and fluviatile silt loam. The methods, hot air, sorptivity, crust, drip infiltrometer, Wind's evaporation, and one-step outflow, fall into three groups: (i) those that only yield a conductivity curve; (ii) those that yield a simultaneous estimate of conductivity, diffusivity, water content, and pressure head; and (iii) those that yield a diffusivity curve. Diffusivities were converted to conductivities with a water retention curve. One main difference between the methods was the pressure head-water content range. Despite the large differences between the methods, the results for the first two groups tended to be similar. The results of the third group did not match well with those of the first two. It proved difficult to compare these methods correctly due to hysteresis.

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