Quantification of soil water retention parameters using multi-section TDR-waveform analysis

S. M. Baviskar*, T. J. Heimovaara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Soil water retention parameters are important for describing flow in variably saturated soils. TDR is one of the standard methods used for determining water content in soil samples. In this study, we present an approach to estimate water retention parameters of a sample which is initially saturated and subjected to an incremental decrease in boundary head causing it to drain in a multi-step fashion. TDR waveforms are measured along the height of the sample at assumed different hydrostatic conditions at daily interval. The cumulative discharge outflow drained from the sample is also recorded. The saturated water content is obtained using volumetric analysis after the final step involved in multi-step drainage. The equation obtained by coupling the unsaturated parametric function and the apparent dielectric permittivity is fitted to a TDR wave propagation forward model. The unsaturated parametric function is used to spatially interpolate the water contents along TDR probe. The cumulative discharge outflow data is fitted with cumulative discharge estimated using the unsaturated parametric function. The weight of water inside the sample estimated at the first and final boundary head in multi-step drainage is fitted with the corresponding weights calculated using unsaturated parametric function. A Bayesian optimization scheme is used to obtain optimized water retention parameters for these different objective functions. This approach can be used for samples with long heights and is especially suitable for characterizing sands with a uniform particle size distribution at low capillary heads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-415
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Hydrostatic condition
  • Multi-step draining
  • Spatial interpolations using van Genuchten functions
  • Time domain reflectometry
  • Water retention parameters


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantification of soil water retention parameters using multi-section TDR-waveform analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this