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Applications of a wireless chloride sensor in environmental monitoring

Harris, N., Cranny, A., Rivers, M. and Smettem, K.ORCID: 0000-0003-2650-4429 (2015) Applications of a wireless chloride sensor in environmental monitoring. In: 10th IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2015, 13 - 15 April, Zadar; Croatia pp. 1-5.

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There is an established need to measure soil salinity, and wireless sensor networks offer the potential to achieve this, coupled with a suitable sensor. However, suitable sensors, up until very recently, have not been available. In this paper we report on the fabrication and calibration of a new low-cost, robust, screen-printed sensor for detecting chloride ions. We also report on two experiments using this sensor. The first is a laboratory-based experiment that shows how sensors can be used to validate modeling results by installing several sensors in a soil column and tracking the vertical migration of a chloride pulse in real time. The second is a trial of multiple sensors installed in a fluvarium (stream simulator) showing that distributed sensors are able to monitor real time changes in horizontal chloride flux in an emulated natural environment. We report on results from both surface flows as well as from sensors at a depth of a few mm in the fluvarium sediment, and differences and trends between the two are discussed. As an example of how such sensors are useful, we note that for the flow regime and sediment type tested, penetration of surface chloride into the river bed is unexpectedly slow and raises questions regarding the dynamics of pollutants in such systems. We conclude that such sensors, coupled with a distributed network, offer a new paradigm in hydrological monitoring and will enable new applications, such as irrigation using mixtures of potable and brackish water with significant cost and resource saving.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Copyright: © 2015 IEEE
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