High resolution electrical resistance profiling of laboratory soil specimens

Jong Sub Lee, Gye Chun Cho, Eun Soo Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An electrical needle-size probe is developed to effectively assess one-dimensional spatial variability of laboratory soil specimens in high resolution. A calibration procedure is also presented to determine resistance from the measured complex impedance. The capability of the developed electrical needle probes to resolve interfaces and spatial variability is explored using sand specimens prepared by various conditions. The complex impedance is measured 0.2-0.5 mm for every specimen. Results show that the coefficient of variation increases as the size of the probe reaches the size of the particle while a very large ratio of probe size to grain size would decrease the detectability of local soil variations due to averaging effects and smoothening. The attainable spatial resolution depends on the needle diameter: submillimetric resolution is typically achieved in laboratory applications and it can be scaled for field applications. The local electrical parameters permit one to infer the soil porosity and the electrolyte conductivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1399-1402
Number of pages4
JournalKey Engineering Materials
Volume321-323 II
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Complex impedance
  • Electrical probe
  • Resistivity profiling
  • Spatial variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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