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  • Schluter, S  (22)
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2016, Vol.11(7), p.e0159948
    Description: Matter turnover in soil is tightly linked to soil structure which governs the heterogeneous distribution of habitats, reaction sites and pathways in soil. Thereby, the temporal dynamics of soil structure alteration is deemed to be important for essential ecosystem functions of soil but very little is known about it. A major reason for this knowledge gap is the lack of methods to study soil structure turnover directly at microscopic scales. Here we devise a conceptual approach and an image processing workflow to study soil structure turnover by labeling some initial state of soil structure with small garnet particles and tracking their fate with X-ray microtomography. The particles adhere to aggregate boundaries at the beginning of the experiment but gradually change their position relative to the nearest pore as structure formation progresses and pores are destructed or newly formed. A new metric based on the contact distances between particles and pores is proposed that allows for a direct quantification of soil structure turnover rates. The methodology is tested for a case study about soil compaction of a silty loam soil during stepwise increase of bulk density (ρ = {1.1, 1.3, 1.5} g/cm3). We demonstrate that the analysis of mean contact distances provides genuinely new insights about changing diffusion pathways that cannot be inferred neither from conventional pore space attributes (porosity, mean pore size, pore connectivity) nor from deformation analysis with digital image correlation. This structure labeling approach to quantify soil structure turnover provides a direct analogy to stable isotope labeling for the analysis of matter turnover and can be readily combined with each other.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, 2011, Vol.34(2), pp.314-325
    Description: ► Stochastic reconstruction with a combination of multi-point statistics. ► Good rendition of connectivity with Minkowski functions and Chord length distributions. ► Transport behavior compares well between reference media and reconstructed media. ► Pressure field tends to bridge local discontinuities within highly conductive regions. Flow and transport in porous media is determined by its structure. Beside spatial correlation, especially the connectivity of heterogeneous conductivities is acknowledged to be a key factor. This has been demonstrated for well defined random fields having different topological properties. Yet, it remains an open question which morphological measures carry sufficient information to actually predict flow and transport in porous media. We analyze flow and transport in classical, two-dimensional random fields showing different topology and we determine a selection of structural characteristics including classical two-point statistics, chord-length distribution and Minkowski functions (four-point statistics) including the Euler number as a topological measure. Using the approach of simulated annealing for global optimization we generate analog random fields that are forced to reproduce one or several of theses structural characteristics. Finally we evaluate in how far the generated analogons reproduce the original flow and transport behavior as well as some more elaborate structural characteristics including percolation probabilities and the pair connectivity function. The results confirm that two-point statistics is insufficient to capture functional properties since it is not sensitive to connectivity. In contrast, the combination of Minkowski functions and chord length distributions carries sufficient information to reproduce the breakthrough curve of a conservative solute. Hence, global topology provided by the Euler number together with local clustering provided by the chord length distribution seems to be a powerful condensation of structural complexity with respect to functional properties.
    Keywords: Simulated Annealing ; Solute Transport ; Minkowski Functionals ; Chord Length Distribution ; Local Percolation Probability ; Pair Connectivity Function ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, August 2012, Vol.44, pp.101-112
    Description: ► New averaging approach that conserves hydraulic non-equilibrium during rapid infiltration of water. ► New indicators to describe hydraulic non-equilibrium quantitatively. ► Direct link between front morphology and hydraulic non-equilibrium. ► Insights into how structural connectivity affects hydraulic non-equilibrium. ► Shortcomings of an upscaled Richards model extended by hydraulic non-equilibrium. Water infiltration into heterogeneous, structured soil leads to hydraulic non-equilibrium across the infiltration front. That is, the water content and pressure head are not in equilibrium according to some static water retention curve. The water content increases more rapidly in more conductive regions followed by a slow relaxation towards an equilibrium state behind the front. An extreme case is preferential infiltration into macropores. Since flow paths adapt to the structural heterogeneity of the porous medium, there is a direct link between structure and non-equilibrium. The aim of our study is to develop an upscaled description of water dynamics which conserves the macroscopic effects of non-equilibrium and which can be directly linked to structural properties of the material. A critical question is how to define averaged state variables at the larger scale. We propose a novel approach based on flux-weighted averaging of pressure head, and compare its performance to alternative methods for averaging. Further, we suggest some meaningful indicators of hydraulic non-equilibrium that can be related to morphological characteristics of infiltration fronts in quantitative terms. These methods provide a sound basis to assess the impact of structural connectivity on hydraulic non-equilibrium. We demonstrate our approach using numerical case studies for infiltration into two-dimensional heterogeneous media using three different structure models with distinct differences in connectivity. Our results indicate that an increased isotropic, short-range connectivity reduces non-equilibrium, whereas anisotropic structures that are elongated in the direction of flow enforce it. We observe a good agreement between front morphology and effective hydraulic non-equilibrium. A detailed comparison of averaged state variables with results from an upscaled model that includes hydraulic non-equilibrium outlines potential improvements in the description of non-equilibrium dynamics including preferential flow in simplified, upscaled models based on Richards equation.
    Keywords: Transient Flow ; Upscaling ; Pressure Head Averaging ; Hydraulic Non-Equilibrium ; Preferential Flow ; Connectivity ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 06/2011, Vol.174(3), pp.395-403
    ISSN: Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
    E-ISSN: 14368730
    E-ISSN: 15222624
    Source: Wiley (via CrossRef)
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Nature, 22 February 2018, Vol.554(7693), pp.423
    Keywords: Soil ; Plant Roots -- Chemistry
    ISSN: 00280836
    E-ISSN: 1476-4687
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 01 March 2018, Vol.17(1)
    Description: X-ray radiography is a suitable approach to study water dynamics in undisturbed soil. However, beam hardening impairs the deduction of soil moisture changes from X-ray attenuation, especially when studying infiltration of water into cylindrical soil columns. We developed a calibration protocol to correct for beam hardening effects that enables the quantitative determination of changing average water content in two-dimensional projections. The method works for a broad range of materials and is easy to implement. Moreover, we studied the drift of X-ray attenuation values due to the detector latency and eliminated its contribution to the quantitative analysis. Finally we could visualize the dynamics of infiltrating water into undisturbed cylindrical soil samples.
    Keywords: Agriculture
    ISSN: 1539-1663
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
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  • 7
    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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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Computers and Geosciences, 2010, Vol.36(10), pp.1246-1251
    Description: For many analyses, grey scale images from X-ray tomography and other sources need to be segmented into objects and background which often is a difficult task and afflicted by an arbitrary and subjective choice of threshold values. This is especially true if the volume fraction of objects is small and the histogram becomes unimodal. Bi-level segmentation based on region growing is a promising approach to cope with the fuzzy transition zone between object and background due to the partial volume effect, but until now there is no method to properly determine the required thresholds in case of unimodality. We propose an automatic and robust technique for threshold selection based on edge detection. The method uses gradient masks which are defined as regions of interest for the determination of threshold values. Its robustness is analysed by a systematic performance test and finally demonstrated for the segmentation of pores in different soils using images from X-ray tomography.
    Keywords: Segmentation ; Thresholding ; Edge Detection ; Region Growing ; Tomography ; Geology
    ISSN: 0098-3004
    E-ISSN: 1873-7803
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  • 9
    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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  • 10
    In: Water Resources Research, June 2017, Vol.53(6), pp.4709-4724
    Description: The relaxation dynamics toward a hydrostatic equilibrium after a change in phase saturation in porous media is governed by fluid reconfiguration at the pore scale. Little is known whether a hydrostatic equilibrium in which all interfaces come to rest is ever reached and which microscopic processes govern the time scales of relaxation. Here we apply fast synchrotron‐based X‐ray tomography (X‐ray CT) to measure the slow relaxation dynamics of fluid interfaces in a glass bead pack after fast drainage of the sample. The relaxation of interfaces triggers internal redistribution of fluids, reduces the surface energy stored in the fluid interfaces, and relaxes the contact angle toward the equilibrium value while the fluid topology remains unchanged. The equilibration of capillary pressures occurs in two stages: (i) a quick relaxation within seconds in which most of the pressure drop that built up during drainage is dissipated, a process that is to fast to be captured with fast X‐ray CT, and (ii) a slow relaxation with characteristic time scales of 1–4 h which manifests itself as a spontaneous imbibition process that is well described by the Washburn equation for capillary rise in porous media. The slow relaxation implies that a hydrostatic equilibrium is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase experiments in which a flux boundary condition is changed from flow to no‐flow. Implications for experiments with pressure boundary conditions are discussed. What happens to fluids in a porous medium after pumping is stopped? Fast X‐ray tomography shows that even in a sample smaller than a sugar cube fluid interfaces continue to move for hours until an optimal fluid configuration is reached. The pace is limited by slow relaxation of dynamic contact angles. Therefore hydrostatic equilibrium, which is the state at which all fluid interfaces come to rest, is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase flow experiments where the flow is stopped in much larger soil or rock samples. Relaxation dynamics through internal redistribution of fluids after fast drainage occurs in two stages A quick dissipation within seconds is followed by slow relaxation within several hours due to relaxation of dynamic contact angles Fluid configurations during relaxation are very different from those during quasi‐static drainage and imbibition
    Keywords: Two‐Phase Flow ; Dynamic Effects ; Hydraulic Nonequilibrium ; Dynamic Contact Angle ; Fluid Configuration ; Fluid Topology
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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