Tomography revolutionizes soil science

Время на чтение 2 мин.

Tomography revolutionizes soil science

Pedologists (soil scientists) from the Dokuchaev Institute and the Moscow State University have introduced 3D-tomography in soil analysis.

Soil science, as well as other natural sciences, has always used new physical equipment and research methods as soon as they appear. Specifically, X-ray technology, laser, spectrometers and spectrophotometers have been used. But 3D-tomography was used as a tool in soil science relatively recently – less than ten years ago.

Prior to that the fine structure of soils had been performed in an antiquated way – flat sections of soil (thin sections and polished blocks) had been studied with the help of a magnifying glass or microscope, although it was clear in advance that polishing of soil breaks the microstructure of soil. Computer tomography does not disrupt the micro capillaries in the soil while producing 3D images of soil structure. Such images break the classical notions regarding the capillary structure of soil.

Soil scientists from the Dokuchaev Institute and the MSU have summed up the results of the initial stage of data accumulation from soil tomography. They claim that many facts that seemed indisputable require rethinking, while the classical theories of moisture and gas exchange in soil require a radical revision or perhaps even abandoned.

Up until now soil hydrologists have viewed the pore volume as a set of cylindrical capillaries. Consequently, in order to calculate moisture movement in soil they used appropriate equations (Laplace and Jurin equations). However, according to 3D-tomography the pore volume in soil is not similar to evenly organized “cylinder pipes”. Capillaries are far from being cylindrical. They are interrelated in a complicated way, which undoubtedly should affect water-absorbing capacity and hydraulic conductivity of soil system.

Without the knowledge of the real dynamics of such processes it is impossible to optimally solve practical tasks of agriculture: for example, calculating the water-absorbing capacity of soil, optimal watering levels, controlling the degree of soil degradation at the very early stages when other methods do not allow its tracking, evaluate the rheological properties of the soil (its flow properties) and many other tasks. All this qualifies as a revolution in the soil science.

Apparently, in the coming years the issue of connection between the structure of the pore volume and the water- and gas-absorbing capacity and hydraulic and gas conductivity will be at the center in soil hydrology, soil physics as well as perhaps the entire soil science. The new theory of soil microstructure is only taking shape. The good news is that Russian soil scientists are playing the leading role in this research.

Sergey Petukhov

Подписаться на рассылку

Вам может быть интересно

Диплом британского образца
Диплом британского образца

Количество студентов, уезжающих учиться из России в университеты Великобритании, не уменьшается — невзирая на ежегодный рост цен на образование, проблемы в российской экономике и ужесточение британского визового законодательства

We developed a hydro-magnetic generator
We developed a hydro-magnetic generator

Kommersant-Science is launching a series of interviews with the 2016 winners of the Presidential Award for Science and Innovations for Young Scientists. ILYA ROMANCHENKO, PhD in Physics and Mathematics, senior researcher at the High Current Electronics Institute of the Siberian Chapter of the RAS received the Presidential Award for the development of hydro-magnetic generators of high-power radio pulses that can be used as protection from terrorist threats and in developing biomedical technologies.

Школьные годы английские
Школьные годы английские

Мы обратились к ее коллеге Наталье Фрейздорф, консультанту по британскому образованию, с просьбой описать саму систему английского школьного образования.

Iranian stamp from Rostov – most likely a toy
Iranian stamp from Rostov – most likely a toy

A unique find for an ancient Russian city – a stone stamp discovered on the territory of the Stables Yard in town of Rostov in the layer that dates back to the late XI – early XII centuries.

Все актуальные новости недели одним письмом

Получайте свежий номер «Коммерсантъ United Kingdom» по электронной почте