Inference of Moisture Content in Unsaturated Media Using Ultrasonics

by Suresh Thota, Univ of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, United States,
R. Boehm, Univ of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


This study focuses on the ability of commercial ulltrasonics equipment to determine the moisture content in unsaturated media. We are interested in the possible application of this technology to laboratory measurements for validating numerical techniques that simulate unsaturated flows in fractured media. To satisfy the objectives of our work, experiments were performed on two of the limiting extremes of media types. In one, tests were made on moistened sand. In the other, fractured media were experimentally simulated with a stack of ceramic tiles with gaps filled or not filled with water. For the sand system, it is concluded that this approach will be sensitive to moisture content, but only near saturated conditions. The approach was more deterministic in the fractured simulant. It appears that ultrasonics will be more sensitive to moisture content in systems where the amount of granular materials is small compared to consolidated media.

Subject Headings: Water content | Ultrasonic methods | Flow measurement | Numerical models | Flow simulation | Cracking | Saturated soils | Granular materials

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