Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
22 Jun 2010
 | 22 Jun 2010

Evolution of the spherical cavity radius generated around a subsurface drip emitter

M. Gil, L. Rodríguez-Sinobas, R. Sánchez, and L. Juana

Abstract. The emitter discharge in subsurface drip irrigation can be affected by soil properties. A positive pressure develops at the emitter outlet where a spherical cavity is assumed to form. In steady-state conditions, the pressure in the soil relates to soil hydraulic properties, the emitter discharge, and the cavity radius. This pressure in the soil is very sensitive to the cavity radius. In this paper, the development of the cavity around the emitter outlet was measured for various emitter discharges in laboratory tests carried out in containers with uniform loamy soils. A trend between soil pressure and emitter discharge was established that illustrates the performance of buried emitters in the field. Its application to the prediction of water distribution in subsurface drip irrigation units and its effect on the estimation of irrigation performance are also shown.

Final-revised paper