Hydraulic conductivity is the measure of ease by which the soil pores permit the flow of water in soil. Hydraulic conductivity determines the plant water uptake, infiltration, evaporations and transportation of solute in soil. Estimation of hydraulic conductivity is useful for hydrologic models like watershed modelling, storm management and land use planning for both urban and agriculture areas.
Previously, soil properties like soil texture, organic matter and bulk density are used to predict the hydraulic properties of soil that provide unrealistic results. Soil hydraulic properties largely depends on the characteristics of macropore in soil. Application of X-ray computed tomography made it possible to evaluate the macropore characteristics and data was used to evaluate the predictive performance of X-ray CT derived macropore characteristics and hydraulic properties of soil.
Strong correlations were observed between macropore characteristics and hydraulic properties of soil. Among the macropore characteristics analyzed, saturated hydraulic conductivity is mainly controlled by the critical pore diameter 2. This research indicates that models founded on the principal of physics like percolation models based on critical pore diameter can be best to predict hydraulic conductivities in soil. This research gave a vision for future soil characterization and future fluid simulation models that may use segmented X-ray CT derived data for predicting the hydraulic conductivity in porous media.
- Koestel, J. et al. Estimating the permeability of naturally structured soil from percolation theory and pore space characteristics imaged by X-ray. Water Resources Research 54, 9255–9263 (2018).
- Ahmad, M. A. Quantifying relationships between X-ray imaged macropore structure and hydraulic conductivity. (2016).