Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.
Login

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

The Movement of Groundwater(Resource ID: 122)

This building block strives to illustrate and communicate a basic knowledge of the movement of water in the soil. The unit demonstrates groundwater movement using a doubel-layer soil model made of plexiglass. Alternatively, or as a supplement to the trial, two videos of several recorded trials are available. A simulation of groundwater movement can be carried out using the program HYDRUS. In a final discussion, open questions should be discussed and the connection to sustainability considered. The building block allows students to actually see water move through the soil and, if possible, to model this movement on the computer. Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the connections and interactions between soil and the water cycle, as well as the corresponding theoretical basis.

Please note:
This English translation of the „Baustein Bodenwasserbewegung“ is a service provided by the Sustainicum team. Currently, it has not been approved by the authors.

Basic idea of the building block

This building block should illustrate and communicate a basic knowledge of the movement of water in the soil.

This building block is comprised of the following elements:

  • Two identically constructed plexiglass two-layer soil models (use of the model can be arranged upon request), including model description and instructions
  • Six films featuring two-layer soil models (basic model and two variations, each at normal and eight-times-normal speed)
  • Optional: Simulation of groundwater movement with the program HYDRUS
    Examples are in form of video files (flow animation) found in the accompanying material.
  • Accompanying material: presentation and instructions for implementation

Description of the building block

Two-layer soil model

Two identically constructed plexiglass two-layer soil models should be arranged.

Basic model:

One of the two trial tank chambers should be filled with fine grain sand and the other with coarse grain sand. 

Variations to the basic model:

Vary the layering pattern (random layers of sand of varying grain size); addition of soil aggregate; insertion of further separation walls; vary position of water in-flow. 

IHLW-Bodenmodell

Instructional videos

Six videos featuring two-layer soil models (basic model and two variations, each at normal and eight-times-normal speed). These can be shown to supplement or replace the trial.

HYDRUS

The simulation of groundwater movement with the program HYDRUS rounds out the building block. Examples are included as video files (flow animation) in the accompanying materials. Upon request the simulation of groundwater with the program HYDRUS can be completed at IHLW.

Accompanying materials

  • Presentation documents (available as PowerPoint presentation and pdf-file) for the presenter
  • Instructions for implementing the building block in the course  

Application in the course

The use of this building block can be individually adjusted. The use of the building block is described in the instructions for implementation.

The following structure is suggested (see presentation documents):

  1. Expert input on groundwater and groundwater movement
  2. Presentation of the two-layer soil model including photo series
  3. Trial and film presentation
  4. Optional: Simulation with HYDRUS in small groups
    Computer with the necessary software licenses for HYDRUS are available upon request in the seminar room of IHLW.
  5. Follow-up and discussion

Desired Aha Effect

The building block allows students to actually see water move through soil and, if possible, to model it on the computer. Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the connections and interactions between soil and the water cycle, as well as the corresponding theoretical basis. The significance of the global water balance will be made clear.

Contact details for borrowing physical devices
IHLW:
+43-1-47654-5450;
E-Mail: ihlw-office(at)boku.ac.at
Learning Outcomes
- Acquisition of knowledge (water movement in soil, potential theory)
- Understanding of the connections and interactions between soil and water cycles
Relevance for Sustainability
According to Gusev & Novak (2007) groundwater is…
• The most active link in the continental water exchange
• An element of the global climate system
• The most important factor for the existence and development of vegetation cover
• Decisive for substance transport and substance conversion in soil

Water in the soil is subject not only to gravity but also to capillary force, allowing the movement of water in the face of gravity. The energy state of soil is defined by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IBG Bulletin Nr. 49, 1976) in the form of various energy states (potentials). Because the movement of groundwater in the unsaturated zone is a highly complex topic, using a physical model as an illustrative demonstration can contribute to a better understanding of topic.
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
High
Access
Free
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

Comments Write Comment

Author

Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.nat.techn. Willibald Loiskandl
Dipl.-Ing. Isabella Schalko
Dipl.-Hydrol. Dr.nat.techn. Gerlinde Scholl
Dipl.-Ing. Alexandra Strauss-Sieberth

Contact

Alexandra Strauss-Sieberth
alexandra.strauss-sieberth(at)boku.ac.at
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Institution:
Institute for Hydraulics and Rural Water Management
Date:

License

Creative Commons
BY-NC

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Simulation program
  • Written material
  • Video
  • Simulation
  • formteaching_experiment