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Sensors 2013, 13(1), 1137-1145; doi:10.3390/s130101137

Characterization of a New Heat Dissipation Matric Potential Sensor

Institute of Natural Resources Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 28 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 17 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Soil moisture sensors can help to reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation. In this paper we describe the PlantCare soil moisture sensor as a new type of heat dissipation sensor, its calibration and the correction for temperature changes. With the PlantCare sensor it is possible to measure the matric potential indirectly to monitor or control irrigation. This sensor is based on thermal properties of a synthetic felt. After a defined heating phase the cooling time to a threshold temperature is a function of the water content in the synthetic felt. The water content in this porous matrix is controlled by the matric potential in the surrounding soil. Calibration measurements have shown that the sensor is most sensitive to −400 hPa and allows lower sensitivity measurements to −800 hPa. The disturbing effect of the temperature change during the measurement on the cooling time can be corrected by a linear function and the differences among sensors are minimized by a two point calibration. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil moisture; matric potential; sensor; heat dissipation; temperature; irrigation control soil moisture; matric potential; sensor; heat dissipation; temperature; irrigation control

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Matile, L.; Berger, R.; Wächter, D.; Krebs, R. Characterization of a New Heat Dissipation Matric Potential Sensor. Sensors 2013, 13, 1137-1145.

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