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Forskningsartikel2014Vetenskapligt granskad

Imaging and quantification of preferential solute transport in soil macropores

Koestel, Johannes; Larsbo, Mats


Despite significant advances during the last decades, there are still many processes related to nonequilibrium flow and transport in macroporous soil that are far from completely understood. The use of X-ray for imaging time-lapse 3-D solute transport has a large potential to help advance the knowledge in this field. We visualized the transport of potassium iodide (20 g iodide l21 H2O) front through a small undisturbed soil column (height 3.8 cm, diameter 6.8 cm) under steady state hydraulic conditions using an industrial X-ray scanner. In addition, the electrical conductivity was measured in the effluent solution during the experiment. We attained a series of seventeen 3-D difference images which we related to iodide concentrations using a linear calibration relationship. The solute transport through the soil mainly took place in two cylindrical macropores, by-passing more than 90% of the bulk soil volume during the entire experiment. From these macropores the solute diffused into the surrounding soil matrix. We illustrated the properties of the investigated solute transport by comparing it to a 1-D convective-dispersive transport and by calculating the temporal evolution of the dilution index. We furthermore showed that the tracer diffusion from one of the macropores into the surrounding soil matrix could not be exactly fitted with the cylindrical diffusion equation. We believe that similar studies will help establish links between soil structure and solute transport processes and lead to improvements in models for solute transport through undisturbed soil.

Publicerad i

Water Resources Research
2014, Volym: 50, nummer: 5, sidor: 4357-4378