About Us | Help Videos | Contact Us | Subscriptions

Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Prediction of the Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity-Porosity Dependence Using Fractals


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 5, p. 1285-1292
    Received: Aug 23, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): dgimenez@hydrolab.arsusda.gov
Request Permissions

  1. D. Giménez ,
  2. R. R. Allmaras,
  3. D. R. Huggins and
  4. E. A. Nater
  1. USDA-ARS, Hydrology Lab., Bldg. 007, Rm. 104, BARC-West, Beltsville, MD 20705
    USDA-ARS, St. Paul, MN 55108
    Southwestern Exp. Stn., Univ. of Minnesota, Lamberton, MN 56152
    Dep. of Soil, Water, and Climate, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108



Fractal theory has been used to quantify morphological properties of pore systems in soil, but predictive capabilities of the derived fractal dimensions have remained largely untested. The objective of this study was to use morphologically derived fractal dimensions to predict an exponent N in a power law relation between saturated hydraulic conductivity, Ksat, and porosity. A Kozeny-Carman equation was used to derive N as a function of two fractal dimensions (pore volume, Dv, and pore surface roughness, Ds) and a connectivity parameter, α. The α parameter was used as a matching factor between fitted and calculated N values. Values of Dy and Ds characterizing pores in both undisturbed and packed soil were obtained from images with pixel sizes of 0.06 and 0.29 mm. Porosity was measured on the 0.29-mm pixel images, while Ksat was measured in undisturbed cores and packed soil columns. Also, published data on porosity, Ksat, and Dv and Ds from dye-stained patterns of four undisturbed soils were used. Lower coefficients of variation and lower absolute values of α were obtained with fractal dimensions from the 0.06-mm pixel images. Values of α were related to parameters from probability distributions of hydraulic radii as calculated from the 0.06-mm pixel images, and to the connectivity of pores as inferred from dye-stained patterns. Fractal characterization of pore structure proved useful for predicting N, but predictions would probably be improved by considering only flow-active pores in the calculation of a fractal dimension. Methods to obtain such fractal dimensions were suggested.

Publication no. 22547 of the Scientific Journal Series, Minnesota Agric. Exp. Stn.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © . Soil Science Society of America