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Superposition principle in soil physics

Parlange, J.Y., Hogarth, W.L., Ross, P.J., Haverkamp, R. and Smettem, K.R.J. (1994) Superposition principle in soil physics. In: Proceedings of the Water Down Under 1994 Conference. Part 3, 21 - 25 November, Adelaide, Australia pp. 171-175.


Analytical solutions are usually easy to apply and useful to understand processes. Unfortunately the non-linearity of Richard's equation restricts exact solutions to a few soil-water diffusivities. A general superposition principle is presented here which can be applied for any appropriate soil-water diffusivity. The resulting solutions are, however, approximate and are applicable in general to describe processes lasting a short time only. For this reason the method seems ideally suited to describe the interaction of abrupt fronts with surfaces. Two examples are considered; one involving a plane front, the other a curved front, to illustrate the simplicity and accuracy of the method.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Institution of Engineers, Australia
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