Method for Maintaining One-Dimensional Temperature Gradients in Unsaturated, Closed Soil Cells
Heitman, J. L.
Ochsner, T. E.
Ewing, R. P.
Sauer, T. J.
One-dimensional temperature gradients are difficult to achieve in nonisothermal laboratory studies because, in addition to desired axial temperature gradients, ambient temperature interference (ATI) creates a radial temperature distribution. Our objective was to develop a closed soil cell with limited ATI. The cell consists of a smaller soil column, the control volume, surrounded by a larger soil column, which provides radial insulation. End boundary temperatures are controlled by a new spiral-circulation heat exchanger. Four cell size configurations were tested for ATI under varying ambient temperatures. Results indicate that cells with a 9-cm inner column diameter, 5-cm concentric soil buffer, and either 10- or 20-cm length effectively achieved one-dimensional temperature conditions. At 30°C ambient temperature, and with axial temperature gradients as large as 1°C cm−1, average steady-state radial temperature gradients in the inner soil columns were−1 Thus, these cell configurations meet the goal of maintaining a one-dimensional temperature distribution. These cells provide new opportunities for improving the study of coupled heat and water movement in soil.