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Canadian journal of Soil Sciences

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 90  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 319 - 329

Capillary pressure-dependent anisotropy of layered unsaturated soils

J. Zhu and D. Sun

Abstract

This paper presents an approach based on a conceptualization of combining the neural network based pedo-transfer function (PTF) results with the thin layer concept to explore capillary-pressure-dependent anisotropy in relation to soil texture and soil bulk density. The effects of capillary pressure (or saturation degree) on the hydraulic conductivity anisotropy of unsaturated soils are still poorly understood. The main objective is to examine how anisotropy characteristics are related to the relationships between hydraulic parameters and the basic soil attributes such as texture and bulk density. The hydraulic parameters are correlated with the texture and bulk density based on the pedo-transfer function (PTF) results. It is demonstrated that non-monotonic behavior of the unsaturated soil anisotropy in relation to the capillary pressure is only observed when the saturated hydraulic conductivity and the shape parameter are both related to the particle diameter. Therefore, it is suggested that this behavior is mainly due to the coupled dependence of the layer saturated hydraulic conductivities and the shape factors on the texture and bulk density. The results illustrate that the inter-relationships of soil texture, bulk density, and hydraulic properties may produce vastly different characteristics of anisotropic unsaturated soils.

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