The Operating Principles behind Van Walt’s Trime Technology

January 6, 2014

TRIME is the acronym for Time domain Reflectometry with Intelligent MicroElements.  More importantly it is the technology used in research level soil moisture measurement research. Based on the TDR-technique (Time-Domain-Reflectometry) it was developed to measure the dielectric constant of a material.

How it works is metal rods, strips or plates are used as wave guides for the transmission of the TDR-signal (TDR is a measurement technique used to determine the characteristics of electrical lines by observing reflected waveforms). The TRIME-device generates a high-frequency-pulse (up to 1GHz) which propagates along the wave guides generating an electromagnetic field around a TRIME-probe. At the end of the wave guides, the pulse is reflected back to its source. The resulting transit time (10 ps..2ns) and dielectric constant are dependent on the moisture content of the material. IMKO, the German manufacturer of this soil moisture measurement technology has developed a patented measuring method. Using these instruments it is possible to measure the transit time with a resolution of 3 picoseconds. Very quick!

The actual moisture content of the soil is calculated inside the TRIME-device and is available as standard analogue outputs. A network interface on PC is also connectable via the RS232/V24 for processing the acquired data via telemetry.

Since its launch in 2009 our TRIME technology has been used in many scientific research projects from the study of archaeological remains for future preservation to the conservation of peat bogs; the moisture content of the soil below wind turbines to managing soil conditions for biofuels. Each time the main purpose of the TRIME probes has been to accurately monitor the moisture content of the soil. The system can be used to collect data immediately or can be connected to a telemetry system which allows for long term, remote monitoring of the soil conditions.

For more information on this technology and the probes we have available for sale or to rent click here.


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