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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2015, Vol.14(5), p.0
    Description: We used X-ray computed microtomography to study gas trapping in a fluctuating water table. Our results show that capillary forces control trapping and phase distribution in dynamic capillary fringes. In porous media, the nonwetting phase is trapped on water saturation due to capillary forces acting in a heterogeneous porous structure. Within the capillary fringe, the gas phase is trapped and released along with the fluctuation of the water table, creating a highly active zone for biological transformations and mass transport. We conducted column experiments to observe and quantify the magnitude and structure of the trapped gas phase at the pore scale using computed microtomography. Different grain size distributions of glass beads were used to study the effect of the pore structure on trapping at various capillary numbers. Viscous forces were found to have negligible impact on phase trapping compared with capillary and buoyancy forces. Residual gas saturations ranged from 0.5 to 10%, while residual saturation increased with decreasing grain size. The gas phase was trapped by snap-off in single pores but also in pore clusters, while this single-pore trapping was dominant for grains larger than 1 mm in diameter. Gas surface area was found to increase linearly with increasing gas volume and with decreasing grain size.
    Keywords: Grain Size ; Water Table ; Mass Transport ; Buoyancy ; Pores ; Porous Media ; Particle Size ; Water Table ; Saturation ; Vadose Water ; Fluctuations ; Trapping ; Buoyancy ; Methods and Instruments ; General;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(3), p.1082
    Description: Predicting solute transport through structured soil based on observable structural properties of the material has not been accomplished to date. We evaluated a new approach to predicting breakthrough curves (BTCs) of dissolved chemicals in intact structured soil columns based on attributes of the pore structure at hierarchical spatial scales. The methodology centers on x-ray computed microtomography of a hierarchic suite of undisturbed soil samples (diameters 1, 4.6, 7.5, and 16 cm) to identify the network of pores 〉10 mu m in diameter. The pore structure was quantified in terms of pore size distribution, interface area density, and connectivity. The pore size distribution and pore connectivity were used to set up an equivalent pore network model (PNM) for predicting the BTCs of Br (super -) and Brilliant Blue FCF (BB) at unsaturated, steady-state flux. For a structured silt loam soil column, the predictions of Br (super -) tracer breakthrough were within the variation observed in the column experiments. A similarly good prediction was obtained for Br (super -) breakthrough in a sandy soil column. The BB breakthrough observed in the silt loam was dominated by a large variation in sorption (retardation factors between R = 2.9 and 24.2). The BB sorption distribution coefficient, k (sub d) , was measured in batch tests. Using the average k (sub d) in the PNM resulted in an overestimated retardation (R = 28). By contrast, breakthrough of BB in the sandy soil (experimental R = 3.3) could be roughly predicted using the batch test k (sub d) (PNM simulation R = 5.3). The prediction improved when applying a sorption correction function accounting for the deviation between measured interface area density distribution and its realization in the network model (R = 4.1). Overall, the results support the hypothesis that solute transport can be estimated based on a limited number of characteristics describing pore structure: the pore size distribution, pore topology, and pore-solid interfacial density.
    Keywords: Soils ; Bad Lauchstadt Germany ; Boundary Conditions ; Breakthrough Curves ; Bromine ; Central Europe ; Central Germany ; Chemical Dispersion ; Chernozems ; Computed Tomography ; Convection ; Density ; Dye Tracers ; Equations ; Europe ; Experimental Studies ; Fuhrberg Germany ; Germany ; Halogens ; Image Analysis ; Laboratory Studies ; Lower Saxony Germany ; Microtomography ; Minckowski Functions ; Morphology ; Networks ; Podzols ; Porosity ; Quantitative Analysis ; Saxony-Anhalt Germany ; Simulation ; Soils ; Solute Transport ; Spectra ; Tomography ; Topology ; Transport ; X-Ray Spectra;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2013, Vol.12(3), p.0
    Description: Soils are structured on multiple spatial scales, originating from inhomogeneities of the parent material, pedogenesis, soil organisms, plant roots, or tillage. This leads to heterogeneities that cause variability of local measurements of hydraulic state variables and affects the flow behavior of water in soil. Whereas in real-world systems, the true underlying structures can never be absolutely known, it is appealing to employ synthetic or "virtual" experiments for assessing general properties of flow in porous media and grasping the main physical mechanisms. With this aim, three two-dimensional virtual realities with increasing structural complexity, representing cultivated soils with hierarchical spatial heterogeneity on multiple scales were constructed by the interdisciplinary research group Virtual Institute of the Helmholtz Association (INVEST). At these systems, numerical simulations of water dynamics including a heavy rain, a redistribution, and a long-lasting evaporation period were performed. The technical aspects of the construction of the virtual soils and results of the forward simulations have been presented in a paper by Schluter et al. (2012). In this follow-up paper, we use inverse modeling to investigate measurements in virtual vertical soil profiles, mimicking typical field monitoring campaigns with moisture content and matric potential sensors placed at five depths. Contrary to the real situation, we can interpret observed data, their variability, estimated hydraulic properties, and predicted water balance in the light of the known truth. Our results showed that measurements, particularly those of water contents, varied strongly with measuring position. Using data from single profiles in systems similar to our virtual soils thus will lead to very different estimates of the soil hydraulic properties. As a consequence, the correct calculation of the water balance is rather a lucky coincidence than the rule. However, the average of the predicted water balances obtained from the one-dimensional simulations, and the estimated soil hydraulic properties agreed very well with those attained from the two-dimensional systems.
    Keywords: Soils ; Hydrogeology ; Boundary Interactions ; Evaporation ; Grain Size ; Heterogeneous Materials ; Hydrodynamics ; Infiltration ; Interpretation ; Inverse Problem ; Irrigation ; Matric Head ; Measurement ; Moisture ; One-Dimensional Models ; Quantitative Analysis ; Simulation ; Size Distribution ; Soils ; Spatial Distribution ; Tdr Data ; Two-Dimensional Models ; Unsaturated Zone ; Van Genuchten-Mualem Parameters ; Water ; Water Balance;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2014, Vol.13(8), p.0
    Description: Root system architecture and associated root–soil interactions exhibit large changes over time. Nondestructive methods for the quantification of root systems and their temporal development are needed to improve our understanding of root activity in natural soils. X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) was used to visualize and quantify growth of a single Vicia faba L. root system during a drying period. The plant was grown under controlled conditions in a sandy soil mixture and imaged every second day. Minkowski functionals and Euclidean distance transform were used to quantify root architectural traits. We were able to image the root system with water content decreasing from 29.6 to 6.75%. Root length was slightly underestimated compared with destructive measurements. Based on repeated measurements over time it was possible to quantify the dynamics of root growth and the demography of roots along soil depth. Measurement of Euclidean distances from any point within the soil to the nearest root surface yielded a frequency distribution of travel distances for water and nutrients towards roots. Our results demonstrate that a meaningful quantitative characterization of root systems and their temporal dynamics is possible.
    Keywords: Agriculture;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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