Document Type


Source Publication Title

Water Resources Research



In the shallow subsurface immediately below the land-atmosphere interface, it is widely recognized that the movement of water vapor is closely coupled to thermal processes. However, their mutual interactions are rarely considered in most soil water modeling efforts or in practical applications where it becomes necessary to understand the spatial and temporal distribution of soil moisture. The validation of numerical models that are designed to capture these processes is difficult due to the scarcity of field or laboratory data with accurately known hydraulic and thermal parameters of soils, limiting the testing and refinement of heat and water transfer theories. The goal of this paper is to perform controlled experiments under transient conditions of soil moisture and temperature and use this data to test existing theories and develop appropriate numerical models. Water vapor flow under varying temperature gradients was implemented on the basis of a concept that allows nonequilibrium liquid/gas phase change with gas phase vapor diffusion. To validate this new approach, we developed a long column apparatus equipped with a network of sensors and generated data under well-controlled thermal boundary conditions at the soil surface. The nonequilibrium approach yielded good agreement with the experimental results, validating the hypothesis that transport in the gas phase is better suited to be modeled with nonequilibrium liquid/gas phase change for highly transient field conditions where the thermal conditions at the land-atmosphere interface are constantly changing.


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Engineering

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