Construction and calibration of a portable rain simulator designed for the in situ research of soil resistance to erosion

Živanović N., Rončević V., Spasić M., Ćorluka S., Polovina S. (2022): Construction and calibration of a portable rain simulator designed for the in situ research of soil resistance to erosion. Soil & Water Res., 17: 158–169.

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Land degradation caused by erosion processes is a widespread global problem. Rain simulators are one of the tools often used to determine the resistance of soils to erosion processes. The aim of this publication is to present the process of the construction and calibration of a small, portable field simulator which would be implemented in research studies designed to determine the changes in the soils’ shear strength parameters in forested areas (in situ) caused by a change in soil moisture content achieved by the rain simulation. The constructed simulator consists of a metal frame, sprayers (with specific nozzles), a sediment funnel/tray made of metal, water and a sediment collector unit, a water tank and pump, and a set of rubber hoses, manometer, valves, reducers, adapters and other supplementary equipment. The calibration was carried out by using the pluviometric method. The choice of nozzles was based on the criteria of low water consumption (losses), the Christiansen uniformity coefficient (CU) and the possibility of achieving specific downpour intensities for the investigated area. The further calibration of the device consisted of determining the raindrop diameter and the distribution of the rainfall when the simulator is positioned on the slopes (7° and 15°). The achieved rain intensity was 1.7–1.9 mm/min, with a CU of 92.23–93.70% for the raindrop diameters (D50) equal to 1.2 mm. The kinetic energy of the simulated rain (Ke) was 2.82∙10–6 J. The constructed simulator proved itself to be in accordance with all of the given criteria, and it can successfully be implemented in research studies aimed at determining the resistance of forest soils to erosion processes, infiltration, and sediment yield.

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