Custom Flow Cells

SMS flow cells are custom made to your specification, using the highest quality materials for your vital

Custom Flow Cells

Flow cells are columns, designed for measuring the hydraulic properties of porous materials, and the movement of chemicals in soil. Typical uses are for water-retention curves, saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivities, contaminant or gas transport parameters, and for break through curves. Interchangeable parts allow for a variety of experimental configurations.

By using SMS flow cells, hydraulic properties (the saturated hydraulic conductivity, the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, and soil water retention) can be determined on the same soil core. Column tensiometers are recommended for determining the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. Small column tensiometers, with or without pressure transducers, are available from SMS.

A flow cell consists of a cast acrylic tube, which holds the soil or other porous medium, and two removable end-plate assemblies, one mounted on each end of the tube. The tube and the top and bottom end-plate assemblies are held together with 3 rods. Each end-plate assembly has one access port in its center. Additional access ports can be ordered for the-endplate assemblies, as well as for the acrylic tubes. Borosilicate glass, stainless steel, aluminum, polypropylene tubes are also available upon request.

Each end-plate assembly consists of two parts: a round doughnut shaped part containing an o-ring slides over the end of the column, and a flat round plate which holds a perforated aluminum support disc. There is a gasket between the two plates, as well as a porous nylon membrane (bubbling pressure 30 mbar) or a membrane filter (bubbling pressure 600 mbar). When needed, the membranes can easily be replaced. Flow cells come in nine standard tube diameters: 1.5, 2.0, 2.25, 2.5, 3.0, 3.25, 3.5, 4.0, and 5.25 inches outside diameter. The inside diameters are 0.5 inches less than the outside diameters. Flow cells can be made in nearly every length.