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Development and Optimization of a Multifunctional Sensor for Measuring Soil Thermal Properties, Water Retention Characteristics and Electrical Conductivity
  • +5
  • Jiagui Hou,
  • Yaohui Cai,
  • Chaoyue Zhao,
  • Junru Chen,
  • Lang Jia,
  • Zuyao Chen,
  • Francis Zvomuya,
  • Hailong He
Jiagui Hou
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
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Yaohui Cai
College of Soil and Water Conservation Science and Engineering (Institute of Soil and Water Conservation), Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100.
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Chaoyue Zhao
College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University
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Junru Chen
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
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Lang Jia
Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
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Zuyao Chen
College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University
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Francis Zvomuya
University of Manitoba
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Hailong He
College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Soil water content, matric potential, thermal properties, and electrical conductivity are fundamental and interrelated properties required by a variety of applications in soil science, hydrology, agriculture, and engineering. However, the measurements of the properties are affected by the temporal and spatial variability of soil due to employment of a variety of sensors, which hinders the research and modeling of coupled water, heat and solute transport. In addition, the laborious, costly and time-consuming sensor optimization is always a challenge for traditional sensor development. The objective of this study was to develop a multifunctional sensor integrating heat pulse, time domain reflectometry and porous ceramic matrix and optimize the sensor with COMSOL based numerical simulations. COMSOL simulated ceramic properties (e.g., thermal conductivity, volumetric heat capacity, dielectric permittivity, electrical conductivity) and soil properties (e.g., thermal conductivity and volumetric heat capacity) with different scenarios of sensor dimensions (e.g., the radius and length of the ceramic and extended rod length) were systematically evaluated and verified with experimental data. Our results show that the optimal radius and length of the ceramic are 18 mm and 40 mm, respectively, and the optimal rod length extended out of the ceramic is 50 mm. The optimized results indicate low estimation errors for dielectric permittivity (±1%), electrical conductivity (±1%), thermal conductivity (±2%), and volumetric heat capacity (±1%) of the ceramic as well as thermal conductivity (±3%) and volumetric heat capacity (±1%) of soil. The new multifunctional sensor can provide accurate measurement and modeling of soil hydrothermal properties.
26 Jan 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
02 Feb 2024Published in ESS Open Archive