Gaseous irrigation control system: descriptions and phisical tests for performance assessment

Sistema gasoso de controle de irrigação: descrição e testes físicos para a avaliação de desenpenho

Irrigas is a water tension measuring system made out of a porous cup (sensor), connected to a gas pressurizing/measuring device by a flexible tube. Water tension (T) is obtained from the equation T=Td-p or T=Ts-p, where Td is the sensor desorption critical water tension (bubbling beginning), Ts is the sensor sorption critical water tension (bubbling ceasing) and p is the applied gas pressure. Differently from conventional tensiometers, the irrigas porous cup cavity is filled with air. This characteristics makes the irrigas system nearly maintenance free and also eliminates the need of making hydrostatic pressure corrections for sensor depth. The system was tested both in the desorption and sorption modes. In the first case the Richards pressure chamber was used to adjus)t the soil water tension which makes the porous cup air permeable. The water tension thus obtained was always practically equal to the Td values measured by the bubbling method, observation that is a physical validation of the barrel immersion technique for irrigas usage for irrigation management. Important for instrument dimensioning, porous cup water loss as a function of water tension measured from zero to Td was diminutive, increased with the soil water tension and was smaller in higher Td porous cups. In the sorption mode, functioning as a gaseous tensiometer, driven by a steady air-flow source, irrigas sensors yielded, directly, water tension readings ranging from zero to Ts. For irrigation scheduling purposes, commercial irrigas water tension systems can be selected according to crop critical water tension requirements.

irrigas; irrigation scheduling; porous cup; tensiometer; water tension


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