The Soils-ZC department hosts the soil physics technical platform, which gathers cutting-edge equipment and the know-how necessary for the physico-chemical characterization of tropical and temperate soils.
The technical platform offers equipment used to measure a large set of analytical parameters conditioning the hydro-structural properties of soils :
- water retention capacity of soil,
- shrinkage and swelling of soil as a function of its humidity,
- hydraulic conductivity in saturated conditions (Ksat),
- hydraulic conductivity in unsaturated conditions (Hyprop-UMS),
- apparent and real densities,
- structural stability,
- particle size distribution (using the Robinson’s pipette),
- pH and electrical conductivity.
Soil hydrostructural properties are directly driving several risks resulting from the variability of climate or land uses which influence the states of the solid-liquid-gas system that constitutes the soil: shrinkage and swelling which can weaken or damage buildings, permeability which controls flooding, runoff, erosion, infiltration and storage in the soil of water available for plants, as well as salinization of soils, groundwater or surface water quality, greenhouse gas emissions …
The technical platform ensures:
- Supervision and training of users and partners
- The establishment of experimental protocols
- The quality of the results from the experiments carried out.
The technical platform is part of international networks for the harmonization and standardization of physical soil measurement protocols : GLOSOLAN-FAO and SoPhie. These networks are currently working to define the characteristics of reference samples and to harmonize the procedures that allow data quality control.