Roughness characterization of porous soil with acoustic backscatter

Michael L. Oelze, James M. Sabatier, Richard Raspet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of acoustics to determine the pore properties of soils, such as porosity, permeability, and tortuosity, is well established. A theoretical surface impedance and complex bulk wavenumber was developed by K. Attenborough for porous media that incorporated the soil pore properties as parameters [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 73, 785-799 (1983)]. Acoustic level difference measurements were used as a noninvasive means of finding the soil pore properties. Acoustic reflection measurements showed that the sound field over porous rough surfaces is modified by the surface impedance and by surface roughness. It is not possible to separate the signal modification due to impedance and the signal modification from roughness scattering in a forward scattering measurement. In order to accurately determine the soil pore properties, the roughness effects must be known independently from the surface impedance. A means of measuring roughness apart from impedance would allow the effects of roughness to be taken out of the level difference measurements. The underwater acoustics community has used acoustic backscatter for many years to examine surface roughness. The feasibility of adapting these acoustic backscatter techniques to outdoor porous soil surfaces is examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1826-1832
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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