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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Instrumentation to Quantify Soil and PM10 Loss Using a Portable Wind Tunnel

Author
item Sharratt, Brenton

Submitted to: International Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2007
Publication Date: September 19, 2007
Citation: Sharratt, B.S. 2007. Instrumentation to Quantify Soil and PM10 Loss Using a Portable Wind Tunnel. International Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture.

Interpretive Summary: Portable wind tunnels are ideal tools for measuring erosion and dust emissions from agricultural soils. To facilitate timely setup and enhance portability of wind tunnels, a novel and innovative sliding instrument rack was mounted on the inside of a portable wind tunnel for measuring wind speed and dust emissions at various heights above the ground. Auxiliary devices such as a datalogger were mounted on the frame of the wind tunnel. The instrumentation package has proven to enhance productivity of ARS scientists by 50% in assessing dust emissions from soils in the laboratory and field.

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion threatens soil productivity and air quality in the Columbia Plateau region of the Pacific Northwest United States. Management practices are sought that will abate erosion, but limitations exist in measuring the effectiveness of these practices in reducing erosion. Portable wind tunnels are ideal tools that can be used to assess the impact of management practices on erosion. A portable wind tunnel, characterized by a 7.3-m long working section that is 1-m wide and 1.2-m high and capable of generating winds of 20 m s-1, was instrumented to measure wind speed as well as soil loss and PM10 (particulate matter '10µm in diameter) emissions in the laboratory and field. Wind speed was measured at various heights above the soil surface using pitot tubes. Creep was measured using trays while saltation and suspension were measured using an isokinetic slot sampler. PM10 concentration was measured by mounting Dustrak inlets at various heights above the soil surface both at the windward and leeward position in the wind tunnel. PM10 loss was determined by integrating horizontal PM10 flux from the soil surface to plume height and subtracting the mass flux at the windward position from that at the leeward position in the tunnel. Pitot tubes and Dustrak inlets were mounted on a sliding instrument rack. Auxiliary devices (e.g. datalogger) were mounted on the frame of the wind tunnel to enhance portability and timeliness of operations. The instrumentation package has performed well in assessing soil and PM10 loss in the laboratory and field.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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