Measurement of xylem water pressure using high-capacity tensiometer and benchmarking against pressure chamber and thermocouple psychrometer

Roberta Dainese, Giuseppe Tedeschi, Thierry Fourcaud, Alessandro Tarantino

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Abstract

The response of the shallow portion of the ground (vadose zone) and of earth structures is affected by the interaction with the atmosphere. Rainwater infiltration and evapotranspiration affect the stability of man-made and natural slopes and cause shallow foundations and embankments to settle and heave. Very frequently, the ground surface is covered by vegetation and, as a result, transpiration plays a major role in ground-atmosphere interaction. The soil, the plant, and the atmosphere form a continuous hydraulic system, which is referred to as Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum (SPAC). The SPAC actually represents the 'boundary condition' of the geotechnical water flow problem. Water flow in soil and plant takes place because of gradients in hydraulic head triggered by the negative water pressure (water tension) generated in the leaf stomata. To study the response of the SPAC, (negative) water pressure needs to be measured not only in the soil but also in the plant. The paper presents a novel technique to measure the xylem water pressure based on the use of the High-Capacity Tensiometer (HCT), which is benchmarked against conventional techniques for xylem water pressure measurements, i.e. the Pressure Chamber (PC) and the Thermocouple Psychrometer (TP).

Original languageEnglish
Article number03014
Number of pages6
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Volume195
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020
Event4th European Conference on Unsaturated Soils, E-UNSAT 2020 - Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 19 Oct 202021 Oct 2020
https://eunsat2020.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/default.html

Keywords

  • shallow
  • vadose zone
  • earth structures
  • atmosphere
  • rainwater infilitration
  • evapotranspiration
  • SPAC
  • soil-plant-atmosphere continuum
  • HCT

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