Week 5

This week, the team prepared large soil cores for computer tomography (CT) scanning in Brno, Czech Republic at the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC). One soil core was collected near the church of St. Anne in Vižňov near Broumov (see Week 3 blog post) and two cores were collected in the Jizera Mountains (see Week 4 blog post). The samples were weighed and allowed to air dry to observe evaporation losses.

Figure 1. Jessica preparing the soil cores for CT scanning


At CEITEC, the group met with Michaela Kavkova, a PhD student experienced in CT imaging. She explained different methodologies, the CT scanners used at the research laboratory and the versatility in application of the technology. At CEITEC, the researchers use CT imaging for a wide variety of biological and structural applications. For example, 3D printing models can be analyzed for inconsistencies with the specification of the model. Another application would be with biological imaging or organs, arteries or bones. The CT imagery scans will allow us to analyze for preferential flow paths, soil structure and composition, and modeling.

Figure 2. Photo of the CEITEC

Figure 3. Example of one of the CT scanners at CEITEC, the GE Phoenix v|tome|x 240. Taken from the GE website.


This week the team also put together an outline for their final report and finalized a literature review. The literature review includes background information on laboratory and field techniques used to measure saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, soil water characteristic curves, and other soil hydraulic parameters.  Soil CT imaging methods and applications were also included. Over the next three weeks, the team will continue to finalize their results and complete the report.