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Factors Affecting Infiltration Rates

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Aim: An investigation on how different factors affect the rate of soil infiltration. Introduction: In the practical experiment several sites will be tested for their infiltration rates. Infiltration is the process of water entering the soil. The rate of infiltration is the maximum velocity at which water enters the soil surface. Different types of soils infiltrate at different rates due to various factors. Opposing factors will be compared in terms of the infiltration rate. The practical will be carried out at Small Heath Park, these are the activities that will be carried out: * Select factors to be tested * Find the location * Do the experiment * Record the results * Produce a write-up In this write-up I will present each factor along with a picture, results table and an explanation. Research: IT source Water infiltrates fast into a dry material and then slows down, as the material becomes wetted. The gravel had the highest infiltration rate followed by the sand and the soil was the slowest. The movement of water through a material depends on the moisture content of the material, the pressure on the water at the surface, and the grain size of the material as well as other factors. For this test we see that the infiltration rates slow, as the material becomes wet. We also see that course grain materials, such as gravel, have higher infiltration rates than fine-grained materials, such as soil. The rate water flows through a saturated material is important in many situations. One is to determine the maximum sustained wastewater discharge rate that a septic tank drain field can handle without pounding up and causing problems. Other uses of the saturated hydraulic conductivity (infiltration rate through a saturated material) is to predict the rate of flow of groundwater towards a well for pumping. It is used to predict the maximum discharge rate that the well can provide. ...read more.

Middle

However the sloped land is made of soil that doesn't have a tight formation. Therefore water is able to infiltrate through easier. A compact surface restricts the entry of water into the soil and tends to result in a small puddle of water. Sloped land isn't straight and flat and therefore water can infiltrate easier. Quotes Slope of the land: Water falling on steeply sloped land runs off more quickly and infiltrates less than water falling on flat land. My earlier prediction is proved wrong as flat land wasn't as quick to infiltrate and sloped land was. "Shaded Land" & "Unshaded Land" Type Of Land Time 1 (seconds) Time 2 (seconds) Time 3 (seconds) Average (seconds) Shaded 11 14 17 14 Unshaded 7 12 15 11.33 Here are graphs showing the results: The shaded land never took very long to infiltrate. The graph displays that the repeated trails took longer. The bar graph above shows that an unshaded area infiltrates very quickly. This is due to exposure to sunlight. Conclusion: This graph is showing a comparison between the infiltrations of the two factors. The land that had no sunlight on it was slower to infiltrate. Land that has sunlight upon it makes the soil dryer and in need for more water. The heat evaporates the moisture leaving dry soil. This isn't the case when no sunlight is present therefore a longer time is taken for infiltration. The movement of water through a material depends on the moisture content of the material, the pressure on the water at the surface, and the grain size of the material as well as other factors. My prediction is proved correct in this case as the unshaded area infiltrated quicker. Sunlight on the unshaded area caused faster infiltration, as water was also evaporating. Shaded land was cool and out of sunlight, this resulted in slower infiltration. "Near a tree" & "Near a hedge" Type of Land Time 1 (seconds) ...read more.

Conclusion

Infiltration rate, the rate at which water moves into the soil surface, correlates with organic matter levels, earthworm numbers and soil stability. Good infiltration reduces erosion and helps keep vital topsoil and organic matter in place. In addition, water that infiltrates into soil is less likely to run off fields and carry soil, nutrients and chemicals to nearby water sources. Disadvantages of Infiltration: Infiltration may not be appropriate in areas where groundwater is a primary source of drinking water due to the potential for contaminant migration. This is especially true if the runoff is from a commercial or industrial area where the potential for contamination by organics or metals is present. Also, the performance of infiltration BMPs is limited in areas with poorly permeable soils. In addition, infiltration BMPs can experience reduced infiltrative capacity and even clogging due to excessive sediment accumulation. Frequent maintenance may be required to restore the infiltrative capacity of the system. Care must also be taken during construction to limit compaction of the soil layers underlying the BMP Practical Benefits There are many practical benefits of my study for farmer and gardeners. When planting something gardeners must consider the suitability of the land chosen, in order to ensure it grows well. The rate at which certain areas infiltrate, must be considered. For instance an unshaded area would be better than a shaded area. If the soil is taken apart by growing roots or other organic material then more water infiltrates. This is due to pores in the structure of the soil, which allow water to get through easier. Due to all this the surface for planting things must be closely observed. All farmers consider infiltration so they can have the best possible growth for their crops. Farmers rely hugely on growing crops so he/she must consider all factors that would affect the rate of infiltration in a certain area. From the experiment it is shown that soil infiltration is affected by different conditions the soil is in. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nabeel Hussain Geography Coursework ...read more.

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