Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scientific Flaw in Soil Physics

Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow

US Pat. 6,766,817 is the first patent to mention the expression of 'Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow' on patenting affairs.

This important fact is outlining some clear consequences from an outstanding scientific flaw in Soil Physics possibly driving to a huge technological gap in the applied hydrology related to fluids moving on porosity for fluidic devices. Such event undoubtedly portrays strong evidences on how much hydrology has been neglected in the area of applied hydrodynamics dealing with unsaturated hydraulic flow for fluids moving on porosity devices since.

Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow is a simple common knowledge that has been recorded for more than a century in the scientific literature of Hydrology - Soil Physics.

This knowledge is so common that Henry Darcy was studying water flow dynamics on sandy filters in 1856 when he proposed his famous Darcy's Law equation for Saturated Hydraulic Flow: ' the velocity of flow is proportional to the hydraulic gradient'. Near a century ago in order to describe water flow through unsaturated soil Egard Buckingham proposed a modification of Darcy's Law in 1907 trying to describe mathematically fluid flowing on porosity.

Most experts working with fluids moving on porous devices are not totally aware about Hydrology background missing hydrodynamics conceptions of Saturated and Unsaturated Zones which are commonly taught in Hydrogeology and Soil Physics. This common knowledge was emphasized accordingly:

US Pat. 6,766,817 p.1 line 65 : 'A fluid that possesses a positive pressure can be generally defined in the field of hydrology as saturated fluid. Likewise, a fluid that has a negative pressure (i.e., or suction) can be generally defined as an unsaturated fluid. Fluid matric potential can be negative or positive. For example, water standing freely at an open lake, can be said to stand under a gravity pull. The top surface of the liquid of such water accounts for zero pressure known as the water table or hydraulic head. Below the water table, the water matric potential (pressure) is generally positive because the weight of the water increases according to parameters of force per unit of area. When water rises through a capillary tube or any other porosity, the water matric potential (e.g., conventionally negative pressure or suction) is negative because the solid phase attracts the water upward relieving part of its gravitational pull to the bearing weight. The suction power comes from the amount of attraction in the solid phase per unit of volume in the porosity'.

Basic Conceptions:

Considering the fact that the flow of a fluid can be observed in "real time" to quantify the detailed patterns of the motion. Consequently, mass motion involves measurements of time and distance. Simple experiments like a drying paper hanging in a wall can demonstrate spatially the attainable boundaries reachable by Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow upward from a single point inserted in the water table as a reference line and a constant fluid supply attending a continuous demand.

Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity is expressed as a volume of fluid ( mm3) crossing an area ( mm2) by unit of time (s), simplified to mm3/mm2/s or simply mm/s. This simple self-watering potted device in the first figure can be used to provide continuous measurement of Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity of the cord fluid conductibility supplying water to replace losses due to evapotranspiration processes. This self-watering system has two legs of a 3 mm nylon cord. US Pat. 6,766,817registered the highest value of 2.18 mm/s of Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity which is many order size larger than reported by scientific literature. It happens because of molecular connectivity allowing a concentration of Unsaturated Hydraulic Gradient to narrow pathways.

Metaphysics and Epistemology of Science would consider the existence of an outstanding scientific flaw in Soil Physics regarding a strong bias from Saturated Zone toward Unsaturated Zone. This bias is easy to verify and probably is driving to a massive scientific flaw in Soil Physics resulting to strong consequences on patenting affairs about hydrology of fluids moving on porosity. As matter of fact, Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow was preached to be much more complicated than necessary indeed. The effect at patenting affairs also leading to a massive IP violation of science can be seen at 'Ignoring Hydrology by Violation of Science'.

Like is displayed in the figure above , most experiments gauging Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity should be performed horizontally as it happens in nature since water infiltrated in the soil moves downhill toward the river in the bottom of the valleys as ground water flow.

The conceptions of Saturation are impairing a clear understanding of Unsaturation that seems to have different features not being totally symmetrical in their theoretical functioning as claimed by theory of classical scientific literature. According to the first figure above showing that Saturated Zone in the bottom are horizontally limitless regarding the distance since the hydraulic gradient can run many kilometers, hundreds or thousands, downhill while Unsaturated Zone as showed in the hanging paper just move a few inches upward from the water table. This takes place because Unsaturated Flow is dependent on molecular connectivity to link attraction power from the solid surface of porosity to retain and/or conduct the moving fluid. It is very likely that all theoretical approach behind Unsaturated Flow be flawed losing support from Metaphysics of Science - molecular connectivity conception suggests that the fundamentals of Saturated Hydraulic Flow be totally dissociated from Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow since the driving force in the flow is highly dependent on the spatial geometry of porosity.

The first figure on top show that Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow is more relevant going upward from the water table and that lateral flow is highly reduced. Even though, due to the bias from Saturated Hydraulic Flow measurement, Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow has been measured horizontally on a distance that may not hold naturally. As showed in the right figure, this standard steady state method of gauging unsaturated flow horizontally is very likely to be flawed since the fluid moving is pulled by a fluid gradient which is not totally from the solid surface of the porosity since the prevailing flow vertically is more relevant as already depicted by an 'imaginary capillary tube' in the first figure to provide the insights about Saturated and Unsaturated Hydraulic Zones.

It seems that the main ways to gauge Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow is to remove each molecule in the fluid without pulling the remainder left behind to avoid affecting the fluid matric gradient by traction letting just absence of molecules take effect. So far this can be achieve only by evaporation or by employing a Reversible Unsaturated Hydraulic Siphon which makes the molecules detach themselves as they cross downward below the water table reference line achieving positive fluid matric gradient.

Unsaturated Hydraulic Flow flaw in Soil Physics seems to be a simple consequence of a prevailing belief trend trying to complicate or making exaggeratedly complex some natural phenomena that can end up being quite simple when nature functioning is comprehended on the core binding to the principles.

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