Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New wireless network to revolutionize soil testing

Date:
March 12, 2014
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A revolutionary sensor that can carry out non-destructive testing of soil samples has been developed by researchers. The sensor is capable of measuring the chloride (salt) in the soil moisture and linking up with other sensors to create a wireless network that can collate and relay the measurement readings. The network can also control the time intervals at which measurements are taken. The sensor is placed in the soil and measures the chloride levels in the soil moisture in a non-destructive way. These chloride levels make up a high proportion of the overall soil salinity.

A University of Southampton researcher has helped to develop a wireless network of sensors that is set to revolutionize soil-based salinity measuring.

Dr Nick Harris, from Electronics and Electrical Engineering, worked with a group of professors from the University of Western Australia (UWA) to produce the revolutionary sensor that can carry out non-destructive testing of soil samples.

The sensor is capable of measuring the chloride (salt) in the soil moisture and linking up with other sensors to create a wireless network that can collate and relay the measurement readings. The network can also control the time intervals at which measurements are taken.

The sensor is placed in the soil and measures the chloride levels in the soil moisture in a non-destructive way. These chloride levels make up a high proportion of the overall soil salinity.

Dr Harris says: "Traditionally, soil-based measurements involve taking samples and transporting them to the laboratory for analysis. This is very labor and cost intensive and therefore it usually means spot checks only with samples being taken every two to three months. It also doesn't differentiate between chloride in crystallized form and chloride in dissolved form. This can be an important difference as plants only 'see' chloride in the soil moisture.

"The removal of a soil sample from its natural environment also means that the same sample can only be measured once, so the traditional (destructive) method is not suited to measuring changes at a point over a period of time.."

The new sensors are connected to a small unit and can be 'planted' in the ground and left to their own devices. The limiting factor for lifetime is usually the sensor. However, these sensors are expected to have a lifetime in excess of one year. The battery-powered unit can transmit data and information by short range radio, Bluetooth, satellite or mobile phone network, as well as allowing data to be logged to a memory card to be collected later.

The novel device allows up to seven sensors to be connected at a time to a single transmitter allowing multi-point measurements to be simply taken.

Dr Harris adds: "These soil-based chloride sensors can benefit a wide range of applications. Large parts of the world have problems with salt causing agricultural land to be unusable, but the new sensors allow the level of salt to be measured in real time, rather than once every few months as was previously the case.

"At plant level, probes can be positioned at continuous levels of depth to determine the salt concentration to which roots are exposed and whether this concentration changes with the depth of the soil or in different weather conditions. We can also measure how well a plant performs at a particular concentration and change the salt content for a few days and observe the effects.

"On a bigger scale, sensors could be placed at different locations at catchment scale to observe any changes in the level of salinity within a field over time, having a direct impact on irrigation strategies. We have already been able to make some interesting observations on real world chloride concentration changes over just 24 hour periods, illustrating the dangers of relying on single point, single time measurements."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "New wireless network to revolutionize soil testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312132357.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2014, March 12). New wireless network to revolutionize soil testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312132357.htm
University of Southampton. "New wireless network to revolutionize soil testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312132357.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins