A new automated compact device was developed to collect data from single ring infiltration experiment. The infiltrometer consists of a containment ring in which a small quasi-constant head of water (i.e. a few mm) is maintained by a Mariotte reservoir and a very inexpensive data acquisition system, based on the open source microcontroller platform Arduino, and a differential pressure transducer. The design can easily be reproduced and operated. The infiltrometer was tested in a citrus orchard on a sandy loam soil. A simple methodology was applied for an accurate data acquisition from the initial stage of the process and to minimize the disturbance of the soil surface. A new approach to process the data was proposed that allows accurate estimation of cumulative infiltration curve from transducer output. The BEST algorithm by Lassabatère et al. (2006) was applied to determine the hydraulic properties of the soil. A comparison between the automated procedure and the original BEST procedure was made. Automatic data collection increases measurement speeds, permits measurement at shorter time intervals, improves measurement precision, and allows for more efficient data handling and analysis. The proposed electronic data acquisition system based on the open source Arduino board proved to be accurate and reliable, constituting a very cost effective alternative to previous proposed equipment. The very limited cost could represent a step towards a cheaper and widespread application of accurate and automated infiltration rate measurement. The automated infiltrometer could be used for situations where a large number of data need to be collected.
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2014|