American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



Click on “Download PDF” for the PDF version or on the title for the HTML version.


If you are not an ASABE member or if your employer has not arranged for access to the full-text, Click here for options.

The Philip-Dunne permeameter: a low-tech/low-cost field saturated hydraulic conductivity device

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  012146,  2001 ASAE Annual Meeting. (doi: 10.13031/2013.4124) @2001
Authors:   Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Carlos M. Regalado, Javier Álvarez-Benedí
Keywords:   Saturated hydraulic conductivity, Philip-Dunne permeameter, representative elementary volume, power-normal distribution, field method
One of the most sensitive parameters in hydrological models, the saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks), is also one of the most problematic measurements at field scale in terms of variability and uncertainty. The performance of a new type of simple and inexpensive field permeameter, the Philip-Dunne permeameter (PD), is compared against two established alternatives: the laboratory constant head (LP) and the field Guelph (GP) permeameters. A PD prototype, a protocol of usage and a numerical routine to find Ks were developed and tested on a 70-point array laid out on an 850 m 2 volcanic soil plot. The raw data from the three methods were well described by a lognormal distribution, while the PD data could also be approximated with a power-normal distribution. A factor of 3 was found to relate PD and LP hydraulic conductivity estimates to GP. Such differences may be explained by the different water infiltration geometry and sample wetted volume for the three methods. In terms of personnel involved, preparation time, and ease of operation, the PD has advantages over the other two methods. Additionally, the PD methodology required a smaller number of samples (41% less than GP and 69% less than LP) to estimate the population means Ks.

(Download PDF)    (Export to EndNotes)