The easiest way to create a moisture release curve is in the lab. The HYPROP is a unique lab instrument that uses the Wind/Schindler evaporation method to generate moisture release curves on soils with water potentials in the tensiometer range—the range of most water movement. Using two precision tensiometers, it automatically produces over 100 data points in the 0 to -100 kPa range. The curve takes three to five days to complete, but the instrument operates unattended. The HYPROP’s range is limited by the range of tensiometers, but can be combined with the WP4C to produce a moisture release curve over the entire moisture range.
Measuring only a single parameter such as water content may give researchers a starting point for understanding their soil, but they won’t understand what that percentage of water is telling them without knowing other information such as soil type, water potential, or hydraulic conductivity. For the deepest insight into soil, researchers can use particle size distribution, hydraulic conductivity curves, and moisture release curves in concert for the most accurate and comprehensive information. Using two different types of curves can even help researchers isolate obscure issues such as a dual porosity moisture release curve in a soilless substrate. Lab and field instruments used together can provide researchers a symphony of information and can be used as powerful tools in understanding data and predicting a soil’s behavior over time.
Six short videos teach you everything you need to know about soil water content and soil water potential—and why you should measure them together. Plus, master the basics of soil hydraulic conductivity.
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