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Determination of the permittivity of soils by use of double transmission measurements

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Delay time measurements, e.g. time domain reflectometry (TDR), are a well-established method for the measurement of permittivity of various materials, especially soils. However, common measurement systems only provide one average value of the dielectric constant along the length of the TDR probe. This contribution deals with an advanced application of the TDR principle, the so-called double transmission method, for the determination of the water content of soil along a probe. To apply the advanced TDR technique, a probe, realized by a combination of a transmission line and a dielectric obstacle, which can mechanically be moved along the probe, is used. The probe is inserted into the soil to measure the effective soil permittivity. Thus, the water content along the probe can be estimated by means of the effective permittivity. Based on the known mechanical position of the reflection at the end of the probe and the position of the obstacle, the measured delay time can be used as a measure for the effective dielectric constant of the environment surrounding the obstacle. Thus, it is possible to determine the effective dielectric constant with a spatial resolution given by the step size of the obstacle displacement.


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