Theories and Tests of Electrical Conductivity in Soils

Hinrich L. Bohn, Jiftah Ben-Asher, Hadi S. Tabbara, Mukhtar Marwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The soil's specific electrical conductivity (ECa) is similar in principle to the EC of a pure solution, but the nonconducting soil air and solids cause complications. The ECa measured by four-electrode Wenner arrays in laboratory and field experiments was linearly proportional to the product of the soluble salt concentration and the soil water content over a salinity range of 0 to 40 dS/m in the soil solution and 0.1 to 15 bar soil water suction. Theories of soil EC based on a conductivity cell and microscale conduction were compared to a macroscale theory and all explained the measured results equally well. Soil can be viewed as an intricate container for electrolyte solution, as a conductor having a tortuous path, or as many conduction paths of varying cross section and length. The macro model was extended to relate ECa to soil water potential, but ECa appears to be inherently dependent on both the soil moisture and salt contents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1146
Number of pages4
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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