Modeling the Electrical Characteristics of a Soil Moisture Sensor


Florida's current explosive population growth can be expected to continue for many years. With this growth, increasing demand on the water supply will be inevitable. Before 1989, local water management officials were able to provide unlimited quantities of drinking water to the ever increasing number of Florida residents. During the summer of 1989, unexpected high levels of water consumption prompted officials to restrict use on several counties. Activities like car washing and lawn watering were placed on a lower priority level to ensure that enough water remained for drinking, cooking, showering and, more importantly, for use in agriculture. Car washing and lawn watering were only allowed during the times when the daily water consumption was the lowest, between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Fortunately, with these restrictions, growers were not so much affected so as to notice a reduction in their productivity. In the years to come, however, officials will face higher water consumption and will have to ensure that enough water is protected for the growers to use. if this is not accomplished, higher food prices will reduce the standard of living of central Florida residents. This thesis presents the development of the electrical model of a soil moisture sensor which can prove useful in helping growers eliminate wasteful use of water and to better cope with inevitable future restrictions. The idea is to place the sensor where a tree is most sensitive to soil moisture, the root zone. This sensor provides a more accurate alternative to delivering water to crop fields than the most commonly used technique of trial and error. Usually, growers determine how much water to irrigate their field with by establishing the amount of time elapsed since the last irrigation cycle. The sensor enables the user (or an automated irrigation system) to constantly monitor the relative soil moisture at many different locations throughout the field to more precisely schedule irrigation cycles.


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Graduation Date





Miller, Richard N.


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering


Electrical Engineering and Communication Sciences




106 p.



Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering; Engineering -- Dissertations, Academic

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