Testing the shape-similarity hypothesis between particle-size distribution and water retention for Sicilian soils
AbstractApplication of the Arya and Paris (AP) model to estimate the soil water retention curve requires a detailed description of the particlesize distribution (PSD) but limited experimental PSD data are generally determined by the conventional sieve-hydrometer (SH) method. Detailed PSDs can be obtained by fitting a continuous model to SH data or performing measurements by the laser diffraction (LD) method. The AP model was applied to 40 Sicilian soils for which the PSD was measured by both the SH and LD methods. The scale factor was set equal to 1.38 (procedure AP1) or estimated by a logistical model with parameters gathered from literature (procedure AP2). For both SH and LD data, procedure AP2 allowed a more accurate prediction of the water retention than procedure AP1, confirming that it is not convenient to use a unique value ofÂ for soils that are very different in texture. Despite the differences in PSDs obtained by the SH and LD methods, the water retention predicted by a given procedure (AP1 or AP2) using SH or LD data was characterized by the same level of accuracy. Discrepancies in the estimated water retention from the two PSD measurement methods were attributed to underestimation of the finest diameter frequency obtained by the LD method. Analysis also showed that the soil water retention estimated using the SH method was affected by an estimation bias that could be corrected by an optimization procedure (OPT). Comparison of a-distributions and water retention shape indices obtained by the two methods (SH or LD) indicated that the shape-similarity hypothesis is better verified if the traditional sieve-hydrometer data are used to apply the AP model. The optimization procedure allowed more accurate predictions of the water retention curves than the traditional AP1 and AP2 procedures. Therefore, OPT can be considered a valid alternative to the more complex logistical model for estimating the water retention curve of Sicilian soils.
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