Soil and Water Lab

The BSE Soil & Water Laboratory, supervised by Professor Anita Thompson, houses a broad array of laboratory and field equipment used for soil, water, and weather monitoring & analysis. The laboratory houses two key pieces of BSE departmental equipment that have been used for a variety of soil and water related research projects: (1) A 10 meter recirculating flume provides students and researchers the opportunity to examine various aspects of flow dynamics, such as drag force measurement, flow rating of primary control structures, and erosive potential of flowing water. (2) A rainfall simulator replicates rainfall over a soil based matrix, in order to measure rainfall generated erosion and evaluate new erosion control products.

The BSE Soil & Water Laboratory houses instrumentation that is used to monitor numerous in situ soil, water, and weather attributes. In addition to equipment used to measure basic soil properties (soil texture, soil moisture, soil temperature and soil/water tension) the Soil & Water Laboratory contains a Cohesive Strength Meter (CSM). The CSM, manufactured by Partrac, is a portable instrument used to measure the critical shear stress of soils, a parameter used in physically-based erosion models. ISCO 6712 Automated Portable Water Samplers provide continuous flow monitoring and water sampling capabilities for streams, rivers, pipes and primary control devices. Automated Equilibrium Tension Lysimeters are used to monitor subsurface (below the root zone) water and nutrient fluxes. An Onset Brand U30 weather station is a portable weather station capable of monitoring various atmospheric properties including: precipitation, solar intensity, wind speed & direction, temperature, relative humidity etc.

Contact Information

101 Agricultural Engineering Lab
540 Elm Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Anita Thompson
Phone: (608) 265-3955