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In-Situ Probe Design for Deep Soil Monitoring in Undisturbed Conditions

Description:

Accurate determination of water content and other variables is an important aspect of most vadose zone soil monitoring programs. Real-time, continuous, in situ measurements of these variables in relatively undisturbed conditions are usually limited to shallow soil horizons. Deep soil horizons usually are investigated by one-time measurement from a core sample, installation of monitoring equipment through the walls of excavated shaft or through a permanently installed borehole. All of these installations into deep soil significantly disturb the desirable natural state.

Technology Overview

The Desert Research Institute has developed a soil probe design that incorporates flexible waveguides or other sensors attached to the outer side of a flexible sleeve filled with a liquid. This design generates pressure that forces the sensors against the soil surface, ensuring a close fit to the irregular shape.

Features and Benefits

This design can incorporate probes to measure variables such as water content, temperature, permittivity, electrical conductivity, heat capacity, hydrogen content, and magnetic susceptibility for example.

  • Eliminates the need for excavation or wide diameter bore holes
  • Leaves soil relatively undisturbed retaining a desirable natural state
  • Installation minimizes soil packing difficulties
  • Minimizes potential bias in water and solute flow pathways (preferential flow paths)
  • Minimizes loss of parallel orientation in rocky materials (bending, crimping or complete failure)

Example Applications

Incorporation into instrumentation used for:

  • Soil remediation
  • Pollution monitoring
  • Landslide prediction
  • Displacement of overburden in mining applications

Opportunity

License and/or product development.

Intellectual Property

UNR ID#: DRI02-002
Title: FLEXABLE PROBE FOR MEASURING MOISTURE CONTENT IN SOIL
US patent #: 7,176,697

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Dan Langford
Technology Commercialization, Manager
University of Nevada, Reno and Desert Research Institute
dlangford@unr.edu
Inventors:
Ofer Dahan
Keywords: