Field measurement of suction, water content, and water permeability

Alessandro Tarantino, A.M. Ridley, D.G. Toll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a review of techniques for field measurement of suction, water content, and water hydraulic conductivity (permeability). Main problems in the use of field tensiometers are addressed and hints on how to improve tensiometer performance are given. Advantages and limitations of instruments for indirect measurement of suction including electrical conductivity sensors, thermal conductivity sensors, dielectric permittivity sensors, filter paper, and psychrometer are discussed. Techniques for water content measurement based on dielectric methods are then presented. These include time and amplitude domain reflectometry and capacitance. Finally, a brief overview of methods for measurement of water permeability in the field is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-782
Number of pages32
JournalGeotechnical and Geological Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • field monitoring
  • partially saturated soil
  • suction
  • water content
  • tensiometer
  • porous block sensors
  • psychrometer


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