Soil Physics: An Introduction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Soil Physics

An Introduction, 1st Edition

By Manoj K. Shukla

CRC Press

478 pages | 201 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2013-11-26
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Designed for undergraduate and graduate students, this book covers important soil physical properties, critical physical processes involving energy and mass transport, movement and retention of water and solutes through soil profile, soil temperature regimes and aeration, and plant-water relations. It includes new concepts and numerical examples for an in depth understanding of these principles. The book provides readers with clear coverage of how and why water and solute flow through the soil and details how various factors influence the flow. It includes guidance on the use of the existing public domain computer models.


"This book updates the always emerging list of topics in soil physics for undergraduate and graduate students. … Certainly, this new book is not only a helpful source for students to develop knowledge in Soil Physics but also for scientists whose background is in the related soil sciences and agronomic disciplines, in hydrology, climatology, geology, biology, plant sciences and even spatial statistics and for all those who appreciate the benefits for their own disciplines resulting from knowing and applying soil physical concepts. This book reaches out to all these related disciplines to stimulate multidisciplinary research and to build knowledge from integrated approaches."

—Ole Wendroth, University of Kentucky

"This new soil physics textbook takes a refreshing approach in that it covers a variety of topics that should be appealing to scientists and engineers interested in water flow, heat flow, air flow, and chemical transport in soils. It has also incorporated soil sampling techniques and soil spatial and temporal variability. The fundamentals of flow and transport are well covered. In addition, the book presents several computer models involving flow and transport and it contains many examples and problems. This latest textbook makes a welcome addition to the already available textbooks in soil physics."

—Jacob Dane, Auburn University

"The book is a comprehensive overview of all relevant topics related to processes in soil. It accounts for new developments in teaching and brings in new research findings as well. The undergraduate and graduate students are guided through the basics of soil science to field investigations and simulation applications. To cover soil physics in one book justifies the volume of 445 pages, but since the book is written in a good readable style students would perhaps like to read even more."

––Willibald Loiskandl,

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

"This book provides an excellent coverage of soil physical processes ranging from fundamentals of process description to some of the advanced experimental and modeling techniques. This systematically organized e-book serves as a good reference for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as practitioners engaged in soil and water resources"

—Binayak Mohanty, Texas A&M University

"… Dr. Shukla presents the reader with an introduction to the soil physical principles that come to bear in such an integrated scientific approach, as well as introducing us to applications by way of various available state-of-the-art models, in a hydrologic context. As expected when taking such a broad approach, much of the relevant material will have to be borrowed from materials by others. Dr. Shukla is to be commended for putting such diverse material together in a comprehensive text.

—Jan W Hopmans, University of California

"… a useful source of information for researchers or practitioners in such subjects as civil engineering, water resources (including irrigation) planning, and ecological conservation. It makes a welcome link to hydrology and the area of land–surface–atmosphere exchange, and as a result is rather different from other available texts on soil physics, but the coverage of these topics could have been much more complete and accurate. … carefully laid out and provides a very comprehensive and generally well-structured overview of all processes … Would I recommend this book to my students or scientists and practitioners in my network? I most certainly would"

—A. Verhoef, in the European Journal of Soil Science, July 2014

Table of Contents

Introduction to Soil Physics

Importance of Soil Physics

Interactions of Soil Physics with Other Disciplines

Soil Physics, Soil and Environmental Quality, and Quality of Life

Soil Physics and Climate Change

Soil Physics Curriculum



Units and Dimensions


Definitions of Unit and Dimension

Systems of Units

Nondimensional Quantities

Deriving Units of Physical Quantities

Use of Units and Dimensions

Unit Conversions



Characteristics of Soils of the Vadose Zone


Soil Formation

Soil Profile

Soil Texture

Soil Separates

Methods for Particle Size Measurement

Particle Shapes

Properties of Clay Particles

Physical Properties of Soil

K14069_C000.indb 5 7/17/2013 6:35:20 PMvi Contents3.10 Soil Structure



Sampling Concepts and Designs


Representative Elementary Volume

Sample Size

Sampling Designs

Practical Aspects of Soil Sampling



Spatial Variability of Vadose Zone Properties


Sources of Variability

Scale of Variability

Statistical Evaluations

Influence of Sample Support

Influence of Measurement Device

Influence of Land Use

Statistical Analysis

Geostatistical Analysis

Semivariogram Functions



Fundamentals of Hydrology


Hydrologic Cycle

Components of Hydrologic Cycle

Water Balance

Rainfall Runoff Relationships


Properties of Water


Properties of Water

Forces on Water Molecules

Contact Angle


Empirical Approach

Importance of Capillarity



Water in the Vadose Zone


Soil-Water Content

Soil-Water Content Measurement Methods

Direct Methods

Indirect Methods

Energy State of Soil Water

Definitions and Components of Soil-Water Potential

Soil-Water Potential Measurement Devices

Total Soil-Water Potential under Different Conditions

Soil-Water Retention

Soil-Water Retention Models

Hysteresis Phenomenon



Flow through the Vadose Zone


Laws Governing Flow through Saturated Porous Media

Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity


Laws Governing Flow through Unsaturated Porous Media

Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity Measurement

Soil Water Diffusivity Measurement

Flow through Layered System

Models for Simulating Flow through Soil System


Water Infiltration into the Vadose Zone


Process of Infiltration

Measurement of Infiltration

Factors Affecting Infiltration Rate

1Infiltration Models

1Water Redistribution



Energy Flow through the Vadose Zone


Energy Balance of Soil

Factors Affecting Energy Balance

Heat Flow Processes

Heat Flux through Soil

Heat Conservation Equation

1Measurement of Thermal Properties

Soil Temperature

Effects of Soil Temperature

Soil Temperature Variations

Mathematical Representation

Management of Soil Temperature



Evaporation from Soil


Evaporation from Different Water Bodies

Evaporation Processes

Stages of Evaporation

Steady-State Evaporation

Transient-State Evaporation

Soil Water Redistribution during Evaporation

Vapor Flow through Soil

Control of Evaporation


Measurement of Evapotranspiration



Root Water Uptake


Root Water Uptake Models

Microscopic Root Water Uptake Model

Macroscopic Type I Root Water Uptake Model

Macroscopic Type II Root Water Uptake Model


Airflow through the Vadose Zone


Soil Gas Content

Factors Affecting Soil Air Composition

Air Flow through Soil

Air Flow Mechanisms through Soil

Air-Filled Porosity Measurement through Soil

Air Permeability



Chemical Transport through the Vadose Zone


Types of Solutes

Related Terminology

Pore Water Velocity

Solute Conservation Equation

Solute Transport Processes

Fick’s Law

Solute Movement

Solute Breakthrough Curve

Interpretations from Breakthrough Curves

Equilibrium Convective Dispersion Equation

Solute Transport Equation under Physical Nonequilibrium

Solute Transport Equation under Chemical Nonequilibrium

Effect of Pore Water Velocity on Solute Transport Parameters

Parameter Estimation

Transport of Reactive Solutes



Modeling Flow through the Vadose Zone Using HYDRUS-1DModel


Installation of the HYDRUS-1D

HYDRUS-1D Tutorial


Flow through the Vadose Zone Using RZWQM


Installation of the RZWQM2 Model

RZWQM2 Tutorial

Working with the RZWQM2 Project

Working with the RZWQM2 Scenario

Scenario Comparisons



Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General