Detection of atmospheric water deposits in porous media using the TDR technique

Sensors (Basel). 2015 Apr 13;15(4):8464-80. doi: 10.3390/s150408464.


Investigating the intensity of atmospheric water deposition and its diurnal distribution is essential from the ecological perspective, especially regarding dry geographic regions. It is also important in the context of monitoring the amount of moisture present within building materials in order to protect them from excessive humidity. The objective of this study was to test a constructed sensor and determine whether it could detect and track changes in the intensity of atmospheric water deposition. An operating principle of the device is based on the time-domain reflectometry technique. Two sensors of different plate volumes were manufactured. They were calibrated at several temperatures and tested during field measurements. The calibration turned out to be temperature independent. The outdoor measurements indicated that the upper limits of the measurement ranges of the sensors depended on the volumes of the plates and were equal to 1:2 and 2:8 mm H2O. The respective sensitivities were equal to 3.2 x 10(-3) and 7.5 x 10(-3) g∙ps(-1). The conducted experiments showed that the construction of the designed device and the time-domain reflectometry technique were appropriate for detecting and tracing the dynamics of atmospheric water deposition. The obtained outcomes were also collated with the readings taken in an actual soil sample. For this purpose, an open container sensor, which allows investigating atmospheric water deposition in soil, was manufactured. It turned out that the readings taken by the porous ceramic plate sensor reflected the outcomes of the measurements performed in a soil sample.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atmosphere
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Humidity
  • Porosity
  • Soil
  • Water / analysis*


  • Soil
  • Water