Unsaturated flow

At suctions less than one-third bar, water moves in all directions via unsaturated flow at a rate that is dependent on the square of the diameter of the water-filled pores. Water is pushed by pressure gradients from the point of its application where it is saturated locally, and pulled by capillary action due to adhesion force of water to the soil solids, producing a suction gradient from wet towards drier soil. Doubling the diameter of the pores increases the flow rate by a factor of four. Large pores drained by gravity and not filled with water do not greatly increase the flow rate for unsaturated flow. Water flow is primarily from coarse-textured soil into fine-textured soil and is slowest in fine-textured soils such as clay.

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