The food-energy-water nexus considers critical resource challenges which must be resolved in order to meet the needs of a growing population. Agriculture is the largest global water user, accounting for two-thirds of global water withdrawals, including water for crop irrigation. Understanding and therefore reducing evaporation of water from soil is an approach to conserve water resources globally. This work studies evaporation of water from a simulated soil column and employs x-ray imaging to determine the location of water in the porous media. A 30-mL beaker was filled with approximately 1700 2-mm hydrophilic glass beads. Water (i.e., 5.5 mL) was added to the simulated soil, comprised of glass beads and a heat flux (i.e., 1500 W/m2) was applied to the beaker using a solar simulator and the intensity was measured with a light meter. Real-time mass measurements were recorded during evaporation and X-ray imaging was utilized to capture liquid transport during evaporation. Images were post-processed using Matlab; the position of the liquid front was determined from this imaging. Across three replications, it took 47 hours on average to evaporate 5 mL of the total 5.5 mL of water. The transitions between evaporation Stage I, II, and III evaporation rates were determined using mass data and x-ray imaging; transition between Stages I and II occurred between approximately 4 and 9 hours, and the transition from Stage II to III evaporation occurred between approximately 18 and 24 hours. The result of this experiment will be useful to understand the liquid transport and formation of liquid bridges during evaporation from soil.

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