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Open AccessArticle

A Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the Modified Philip–Dunne Infiltrometer

1
Department of Civil Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5337, USA
2
Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(9), 1881; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091881
Received: 17 August 2019 / Revised: 5 September 2019 / Accepted: 6 September 2019 / Published: 10 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water-Related Ecosystem Services)
This study aims at furthering our understanding of the Modified Philip–Dunne Infiltrometer (MPDI), which is used to determine the saturated hydraulic conductivity Κs and the Green–Ampt suction head Ψ at the wetting front. We have developed a forward-modeling algorithm that can be used to simulate water level changes inside the infiltrometer with time when the soil hydraulic properties Κs and Ψ are known. The forward model was used to generate 30,000 water level datasets using randomly generated values of Κs and Ψ values. These model data were then compared against field-measured water level drawdown data collected for three types of soil. The Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) was used to assess the quality of the fit. Results show that multiple sets of the model parameters Κs and Ψ can yield drawdown curves that can fit the field-measured data equally well. Interestingly, all the successful sets of parameters (delineated by NSE ≥ the threshold value) give Κs values converged to a valid range that is fully consistent with the tested soil texture class. However, Ψ values varied significantly and did not converge to a valid range. Based on these results, we conclude that the MPDI is a useful field method to estimate Κs values, but it is not a robust method to estimate Ψ values. Further studies are needed to improve the experimental procedures that can yield more sensitive data that can help uniquely identify Κs and Ψ values.
Keywords: infiltration; hydraulic conductivity; suction head; measurement technique; forward model; Green–Ampt model infiltration; hydraulic conductivity; suction head; measurement technique; forward model; Green–Ampt model
MDPI and ACS Style

Alakayleh, Z.; Fang, X.; Clement, T.P. A Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the Modified Philip–Dunne Infiltrometer. Water 2019, 11, 1881.

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