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Tensiometer and method of determining soil moisture potential in below-grade earthen soil

United States Patent

5,758,538
June 2, 1998
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Idaho National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office Website
A tensiometer to in situ determine below-grade soil moisture, potential of earthen soil includes, a) an apparatus adapted for insertion into earthen soil below grade, the apparatus having a below-grade portion, and, comprising; b) a porous material provided in the below-grade portion, the porous material at least in part defining a below-grade first fluid chamber; c) a first fluid conduit extending outwardly of the first fluid chamber; d) a first controllable isolation valve provided within the first fluid conduit, the first controllable isolation valve defining a second fluid chamber in fluid communication with the first fluid chamber through the first fluid conduit and the isolation valve, the first controllable isolation valve being received within the below-grade portion; and e) a pressure transducer in fluid communication with the first fluid chamber, the pressure transducer being received within the below-grade portion. An alternate embodiment includes an apparatus adapted for insertion into earthen soil below grade, the apparatus having a below-grade portion, and including: i) a porous material provided in the below-grade portion, the porous material at least in part defining a below-grade first fluid chamber; and ii) a pressure sensing apparatus in fluid communication with the first fluid chamber, the pressure sensing apparatus being entirely received within the below-grade portion. A method is also disclosed using the above and other apparatus.
Hubbell; Joel M. (Idaho Falls, ID), Mattson; Earl D. (Albuquerque, NM), Sisson; James B. (Idaho Falls, ID)
Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company (Idaho Falls, ID)
08/ 391,942
February 21, 1995
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention disclosed under contract number DE-AC07-76ID01570 between the U.S. Department of Energy and EG&G Idaho, Inc., now contract number DE-AC07-94ID13223 with Lockheed Idaho Technologies Company.