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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OBJECT MODELING AND SCALING OF LANDSCAPE PROCESSES AND CONSERVATION EFFECTS IN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

Title: Simulated Effects of Soil Temperature and Salinity on Capacitance Sensor Measurements

Authors
item Schwank, Mike - ETHZ(ZURICH)
item Green, Timothy

Submitted to: Sensors
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 23, 2007
Publication Date: April 26, 2007
Repository URL: http://www.mdpi.org/sensors/papers/s7040548.pdf
Citation: Schwank, M., Green, T.R. 2007. Simulated Effects of Soil Temperature and Salinity on Capacitance Sensor Measurements. Sensors 2007 (4/26/2007), 7, 548-577.

Interpretive Summary: Dielectric measurement techniques are advancing for estimation of water content in environmental media. However, several factors (e.g. temperature and salinity) affecting the readings require further quantitative investigation and explanation. Theoretical sensitivities of the capacitance sensors to liquid salinity and temperature of porous media were derived and computed numerically. Different components of capacitance were calculated via numerical integration for input to a electrical circuit analogue. Circuit resistances were calculated from the complex permittivity of the bulk soil and from the modeled electrical fields. Simulated resonant frequencies of the capacitance sensor display sensitivities to both temperature and salinity. The gradients in normalized frequency with temperature ranged from negative to positive values as salinity increased. The new model improved our understanding of processes affecting instrumental sensitivities to temperature and salinity, providing a foundation for further work on inference of soil water content under field conditions.

Technical Abstract: Dielectric measurement techniques are advancing estimation of water content in environmental media. However, factors such as temperature and salinity affecting the readings require further quantitative investigation and explanation. Theoretical sensitivities of capacitance sensors to liquid salinity and temperature of porous media were derived and computed using a revised electrical circuit analogue model in conjunction with a dielectric mixing model and a finite element model of Maxwell’s equation to compute electrical field distributions. The mixing model estimates the bulk effective complex permittivities of solid-water-air media. The real part of the permittivity values were used in electric field simulations, from which different components of capacitance were calculated via numerical integration for input to the electrical circuit analogue. Circuit resistances representing the dielectric losses were calculated from the complex permittivity of the bulk soil and from the modeled fields. Resonant frequencies from the circuit analogue were used to update frequency-dependent variables in an iterative manner. Simulated resonant frequencies of the capacitance sensor display sensitivities to both temperature and salinity. The gradients in normalized frequency with temperature ranged from negative to positive values as salinity increased from 0 to 10 g L-1. The model development and analyses improved our understanding of processes affecting the temperature and salinity sensitivities of capacitance sensors in general. This study provides a foundation for further work on inference of soil water content under field conditions.

Last Modified: 7/11/2014
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