A conceptual model is presented that provides a rational basis for using plant root capacitance as an in-situ measurement for assessing plant root development. This method is based on measuring the electrical capacitance of an equivalent parallel resistance-capacitance circuit formed by the interface between soil-water and the plant root surface. Nutrient… (More)
Two parallel metallic rods were used as a wave guide to measure the dielectric constant and electrical conductivity of soils having different electrical conductivities but the same water content. Measurements showed that the two parameters were sufficiently independent to permit simultaneous determinations of water content and bulk electrical conductivity.
We present results from a series of experiments on a granular medium sheared in a Couette geometry and show that their statistical properties can be computed in a quantitative way from the assumption that the resultant from the set of forces acting in the system performs a Brownian motion. The same assumption has been utilized, with success, to describe… (More)
The rectification of unbiased fluctuations, also known as the ratchet effect, is normally obtained under statistical nonequilibrium conditions. Here we propose a new ratchet mechanism where a thermal bath solicits the random rotation of an asymmetric wheel, which is also subject to Coulomb friction due to solid-on-solid contacts. Numerical simulations and… (More)
We investigate experimentally the effective Coulomb friction exerted by a granular medium on a shearing plate, varying the medium depth. The plate is driven by a spring connected to a motor turning at a constant speed and, depending on the system configuration, performs continuous sliding or stick and slip in different proportions. We introduce an order… (More)
In this work we experimentally study the behavior of a freely rotating asymmetric probe immersed in a vibrated granular medium. For a wide variety of vibration conditions the probe exhibits a steady rotation whose direction is constant with respect to the asymmetry. By changing the vibration amplitude and by filtering the noise in different frequency bands… (More)
We present results from a physical experiment which demonstrates that a sheared granular medium behaves in a manner analogous to earthquake activity. The device consists of an annular plate rotating over a granular medium in a stick-slip fashion. Previous observations by us include a bounded critical state with a power law distribution of event energy… (More)
We investigate the behaviour of an original traffic model. The model considers a single multi-lane street, populated by autonomous vehicles directed from either end to the other. Lanes have no intrinsic directionality, and the vehicles are inserted at random at either end and any lane. Collision avoidance is fully automatic and, to enhance the transport… (More)