Coupling X-ray microtomography and macroscopic soil measurements: a method to enhance near-saturation functions?
Abstract. Agricultural management practices influence soil structure, but the characterization of these modifications and consequences are still not completely understood. In this study, we combine X-ray microtomography with retention and hydraulic conductivity measurements in the context of tillage simplification. First, this association is used to validate microtomography information with a quick scan method. Secondly, X-ray microtomography is used to increase our knowledge of soil structural differences. Notably, we show a good match for retention and conductivity functions between macroscopic measurements and microtomographic information. Microtomography refines the shape of the retention function, highlighting the presence of a secondary pore system in our soils. Analysis of structural parameters for these pores appears to be of interest and offers additional clues for soil structure differentiation, through – among others – connectivity and tortuosity parameters. These elements make microtomography a highly competitive instrument for routine soil characterization.