Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Title: Hydraulic Properties of Unsaturated Soils

item Martinus, Van Genuchten
item Pachepsky, Yakov

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Agrophysics
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/21/2010
Publication Date: 7/4/2011
Citation: Martinus, V., Pachepsky, Y.A. 2011. Hydraulic Properties of Unsaturated Soils. In: Glinski, J., Horabik, J., Lipiec, J. editors. Encyclopedia of Agrophysics. Dordrecht, Springer.p. 368-376.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Many agrophysical applications require knowledge of the hydraulic properties of unsaturated soils. These properties reflect the ability of a soil to retain or transmit water and its dissolved constituents. The objective of this work was to develop an entry for the Encyclopedia of Agrophysics that would give the concise overview of quantitative approaches to soil hydraulic property characterization. The soil water retention curve is introduced that describes the relationship between the water content and the energy status of water at a given location in the soil. The hydraulic conductivity function is imparted that characterizes the ability of a soil to transmit water. Factors affecting soil water retention and soil hydraulic conductivity are listed, with the pore-size distribution of the medium, and the tortuosity, shape, roughness, and degree of interconnectedness of the pores among them. The role of soil composition is outlined and the latest advances in mathematical description of soil hydraulic properties are presented. Hydraulic properties of soils of different particle size distributions are used for illustration purposes. The overview of soil hydraulic properties is linked to other topics in the Encyclopedia of Agrophysics

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page