Chapter 14 Electrical Properties of Soils

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Abdel-Mohsen Onsy Mohamed
Evan K. Paleologos

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Fundamentals of Geoenvironmental Engineering

Publication Date



This chapter discusses the electric and electromagnetic methods that are used to evaluate the electrical properties of soils. Electric techniques exploit the flow of a steady-state current in the subsurface, while electromagnetic methods rely on the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction and the wave character of the electromagnetic field. The electrical techniques and associated properties are: (a) spontaneous potential methods in which the formation of water resistivity is determined; (b) resistivity methods in which the apparent resistivity can be calculated using Wenner, Schlumberger, and dipole-dipole arrays; and (c) specific conductivity methods in which the soil-specific conductivity is calculated by incorporating in the analysis of soil geometric factors, such as fabric anisotropy, tortuosity, resistance to solid matrix, bulk fluid phase, and electric double layer. Various parameters that influence the measured electrical properties are also presented, such as the nature of the soil composition (particle size distribution, mineralogy), soil structure (porosity, pore size distribution, connectivity, and anisotropy), moisture content, temperature, concentration of dissolved species in the pore-solution, wet-dry cycles, age of contaminants, and mineral formation due to biodegradation. Finally, the extraction of aquifer hydraulic properties such as porosity and hydraulic conductivity, from the measured electrical properties is discussed.




Environ. Manag. 28 2001


Environmental Engineering

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access