Extension of the measurement range of electrical conductivity by time-domain reflectometry (TDR)
- Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK.
- 1Department of Irrigation and Water Management, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh 2202, Bangladesh.
- 2Faculty of Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences, K.U. Leuven, Kardinal Mercierlaan 92, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium.
- *Corresponding author.
Abstract. The electrical conductivity (EC) of a medium invaded by TDR sensors can be estimated from the impedance of a TDR reflectogram. Four categories of sensor were tested in salt solutions and the impedances of the TDR pulse wave were correlated to the EC of the solution. The relation between the impedance and EC over a wide range of conductivities is non-linear but stable. Second- to fourth-degree polynomials can extend the measurement range to 44 dS m-1 (equivalent to a NaCl concentration of 28 g l-1 or 0.48 N) and result in better prediction of the conductivities than linear relations. For automatic measurement of EC with a datalogger, the method of Giese and Tiemann (1975, Adv. Mol. Rel. Processes, 7: 45-59) gives accurate measurement of conductivities lower than 10 dS m-1. Polynomial relations between EC and the datalogger's record provide an accurate estimate of the conductivity over a wide range. However, for both manual and automatic measurements, the sensors need to be calibrated individually. In particular, in the non-linear region, the differences between sensors are larger. Fortunately, the relation is sufficiently stable to eliminate significant error.