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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Soil Physics

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Lecture: Introduction to Soil Physics (BSc, G2.1) (28151)

WS 2023/2024
Tu.: 08:00-10:00; H8

Efstathios Diamantopoulos


                                Introduction to Soil Physics (BSc)

Picture from https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-022-00324-6/figures/1

This course offers an introduction to the main soil physical properties and processes. The students will learn what are the main soil particles and how we can quantify them in the laboratory (theory only), the soils as three phase systems, what are the main forces acting on soil water, how water is stored and moving into soils and many more. The course is organized as a series of lectures and theoretical exercises. The main parts are:


  • Introduction to Soil Physics
  • Soil Physical Properties
  • Water Properties and Capillary Rise
  • Volume and mass relationships
  • Energy status of soil water
  • Water retention in soils
  • Water flow in saturated and unsaturated soils
  • Water flow under transient conditions
  • Introduction to solute transport

Course objective


  • Understanding the main physical properties of soils
  • Learn the basic methods for the quantification of physical properties
  • Describe main mechanisms/processes for water flow and solute transport in soils


  • Master basic calculations concerning different laboratory methods
  • Master basic calculations for the main equations describing water flow and solute transport at the laboratory and at the field scale


  • Identify and determine essential soil physical properties and processes with respect to soil hydrology, hydrology, eco-hydrology, soils as ecosystem services, soil quality
  • Interpret experimental data and draw appropriate conclusions
  • Assess the soil as a growth medium for plants in general
  • Assess how the physical properties of soils affect (or are affected) by chemical and biological processes

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