Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
29 Feb 2004
29 Feb 2004

Direct measurement of the soil water retention curve using X-ray absorption

A. Bayer, H.-J. Vogel, and K. Roth

Abstract. X-ray absorption measurements have been explored as a fast experimental approach to determine soil hydraulic properties and to study rapid dynamic processes. As examples, the pressure-saturation relation θ(Ψ) for a uniform sand column has been considered as has capillary rise in an initially dry sintered glass column. The θ(Ψ)-relation is in reasonable agreement with that obtained by inverting a traditional multi-step outflow experiment. Monitoring the initial phase of capillary rise reveals behaviour that deviates qualitatively from the single-phase, local-equilibrium regime described by Richards’ equation.

Keywords: X-ray absorption, soil hydraulic properties, soil water dynamics, Richards’ equation