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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - SOIL PHYSICS

Water Vapor Diffusion through Wheat Straw Residue


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 73 No. 1, p. 37-45
    Received: Mar 4, 2008

    * Corresponding author(s): flury@wsu.edu
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  1. Markus Flury *a,
  2. Jon B. Mathisona,
  3. Joan Q. Wub,
  4. William F. Schillingera and
  5. Claudio O. Stöckleb
  1. a Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA 99164
    b Dep. of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA 99164


Accurate prediction of evaporative water loss from dryland agricultural soils requires knowledge of diffusive resistance. Our objective was to experimentally determine the effective vapor diffusion coefficients and the diffusive resistances for water vapor through wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) residue layers. A laboratory diffusion chamber was designed to investigate the effects of wheat residue type (straw vs. chaff), residue amount (2, 4, 8, and 12 Mg ha−1), and residue orientation (horizontal vs. vertical straw) on vapor diffusion. The diffusion chamber consisted of two well-stirred chambers separated by a residue layer. In one chamber, a constant saturated water vapor pressure was maintained, while in the other chamber, vapor pressure increased with time due to the diffusion of vapor through the residue layer. Vapor pressure was measured with a humidity sensor. The diffusion equation was used to obtain the effective diffusion coefficient from the measured data by inverse modeling. Results showed that for both straw and chaff residue, increasing the quantity of residue did not necessarily decrease the effective diffusion coefficient but did increase the diffusive resistance. For the same quantity of residue, chaff had a lower effective diffusion coefficient than straw, but the diffusive resistances were similar. The diffusive resistances were in the order of 800 to 3700 s m−1 for 2 to 12 Mg ha−1 residue treatments. The factor affecting the diffusive resistance the most was the thickness of the residue layer: the thicker the residue layer, the larger the diffusive resistance.

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