A Scanning Electron Microscopy study of water in soil

Haim Gvirtzman*, Mordeckai Magaritz, Eugenia Klein, Arie Nadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cold stage Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with a rapid cooling technique makes it possible to investigate the water phase within unsaturated porous media. It is thought that this technique preserves the main features of the micromorphology of the water menisci as it exists in the liquid phase in soils. Saddle-shaped elements, as well as pendular rings of water, were observed with concave and convex curvatures of the water-air interface. The hydraulic conductivity of an unsaturated soil may be inferred from SEM photographs. Observations of isolated water menisci indicate the existence of an immobile water domain. The surface geometry of the water menisci was analyzed quantitatively and surface tension and capillary pressure were determined.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Unsaturated porous media
  • capillary pressure
  • immobile water
  • water menisci


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