This project will develop a novel method for detecting compaction based on fibre optic technology. This will use detectable variations in the refractive index of fibre optic sensors to identify the changes in soil density as a result of soil compaction.
We need to feed a growing global population through sustainable intensification of our current land resources. However the continued productivity of agricultural soils is threatened by various pressures, one of which is soil compaction from agricultural machinery. Compaction causes changes in the soil structure and pore space, with negative effects on crop growth and yield. Currently there are few reliable, practicable methods for measuring changes in soil compaction. This project will seek to provide a cheap, practical alternative to laborious and costly laboratory-based assessments. The student will join the engineering photonics group at Cranfield and the soil physics groups at Cranfield and Rothamsted Research.
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