Non-invasive method for detecting changes in soil moisture using wireless sensor networks

Dalel, Muhammad Iqbal Darma (2012) Non-invasive method for detecting changes in soil moisture using wireless sensor networks. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


There are several popular soil moisture measurement methods today such as time domain reflectometry, electromagnetic (EM) wave, electrical and acoustic methods. Significant studies have been dedicated in developing method of measurements using those concepts, especially to achieve the characteristics of noninvasiveness.

EM wave method provides an advantage because it is non-invasive to the soil and does not need to utilise probes to penetrate or bury in the soil. But some EM methods are also too complex, expensive, and not portable for the application of Wireless Sensor Networks; for example satellites or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) based sensors.

This research proposes a method in detecting changes in soil moisture using soil-reflected electromagnetic (SREM) wave from Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). Studies have shown that different levels of soil moisture will affects soil’s dielectric properties, such as relative permittivity and conductivity, and in turns change its reflection coefficients. The SREM wave method uses a transmitter adjacent to a WSNs node with purpose exclusively to transmit wireless signals that will be reflected by the soil. The strength from the reflected signal that is determined by the soil’s reflection coefficients is used to differentiate the level of soil moisture.

The novel nature of this method comes from using WSNs communication signals to perform soil moisture estimation without the need of external sensors or invasive equipment. This innovative method is non-invasive, low cost and simple to set up.

There are three locations at Brisbane, Australia chosen as the experiment’s location. The soil type in these locations contains 10–20% clay according to the Australian Soil Resource Information System. Six approximate levels of soil moisture (8, 10, 13, 15, 18 and 20%) are measured at each location; with each measurement consisting of 200 data. In total 3600 measurements are completed in this research, which is sufficient to achieve the research objective, assessing and proving the concept of SREM wave method. These results are compared with reference data from similar soil type to prove the concept. A fourth degree polynomial analysis is used to generate an equation to estimate soil moisture from received signal strength as recorded by using the SREM wave method.

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ID Code: 51039
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Ziri-Castro, Karla
Keywords: soil moisture, wireless sensor networks
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 25 Jun 2012 00:42
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:18

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