The laboratory is used to investigate the mechanisms of water and nutrient transport in the plant-soil-atmosphere continuum, study the problems related to the use of conventional and unconventional (saline) water and assess the risk of soil and ground water pollution from contaminants. The instrumentation provided enables the measure of soil hydrological properties.
The technical and scientific activities combine laboratory and field works and are described below.
• Soil physical analyses: determination of texture; pH and electrical conductivity, bulk density and particle density of undisturbed soil samples;
• Measure of soil water content in disturbed and undisturbed soil samples;
• Determination of soil hydraulic properties: water retention and hydraulic conductivity under saturated and unsaturated conditions using Stackman’s beds, multi-step chambers, permeameters and tension infiltrometers;
• Measures of the soil extract electrical conductivity (ECw) to determine salinity levels on disturbed soil samples using ad-hoc instruments: conductivity meters and spectrophotometers.
• Measure of water contents, hydraulic conductivity under saturated and unsaturated conditions and soil bulk electrical conductivity in the space and over time using TDR (Time Domain Reflectometry) probes.
• Disturbed and undisturbed soil sampling for a physical and hydrological characterisation of soils.
• Measure of water retention and hydraulic conductivity using field techniques (tensiometers, TDR probes, tension infiltrometer).
• Monitoring of soil salinity using the following geophysical methodologies: multi-electrode geoelectric (ERT) and electromagnetic (EM) tomography and Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR).
The laboratory equipments are shown in the description sheet below.