The Vadose Zone Research Laboratory contains modern equipment for measuring soil physical properties and conducting multiphase flow and transport experiments. In addition to standard items such as analytical balances, ovens, and refrigerators etc., this laboratory also houses state-of-the-art centrifugal facilities, and specialized equipment for the hydraulic characterization of variably-saturated porous media.
A Coretest Ultra-Rock Core centrifuge (URC-628) was purchased and installed in April 2006 with the aid of an NSF-EAR-IF grant. This instrument, developed for the oil and gas industry, is the only one of its kind at a U.S. university. It is being used to determine both capillary pressure - saturation and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity functions of rock and soil samples.
A Brookhaven Instruments x-ray disc centrifuge (BI-XDC) is also available to measure particle-size distributions in the range of tens of microns down to tens of nanometers.
A partial listing of other specialized equipment includes:
- a Nextengine 3D laser scanner for aggregate bulk density and specific surface area measurements
- a Frisch vibratory sieve shaker and sieves for standard particle size analyses
- time domain reflectometers for volumetric water content measurements
- a WP4 dewpoint PotentiaMeter®, and tensiometers and Tensimeters® for capillary pressure measurements
- a tension-disc inflitrometer for field measurements of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function
- Tempe® cells, a vacuum chamber, a pressure/ vacuum pump, and a programmable continuous flow syringe pump for water retention and flow measurements
- a pH/conductivity meter, ion selective electrodes, and fraction collector for determining solute breakthrough curves
- an assortment of core samplers and augers for soil sampling.
Ample computer resources (hardware and software) are available for model development, numerical simulations, and data analysis.