Water Infiltration in Layered Soils with Air Entrapment: Modified Green-Ampt Model and Experimental Validation Academic Article uri icon


  • Air entrapment in soil is common in cases of farmland flood irrigation or intense rain. A simple, physically based model would be more useful than the complex two-phase (gaseous and liquid phase) flow model to describe water infiltration in layered soils with air entrapment. This study proposed a modified Green-Ampt model (MGAM) to simulate water infiltration in layered soils with consideration of entrapped air. A saturation coefficient S a was introduced in MGAM to account for the resistance effect of air entrapment on infiltration. S a had robust physical meaning, and was approximately equal to one minus the plus of the residual air and residual water saturation degree that could be determined from the soil water retention curve equation. In MGAM, the actual water content and hydraulic conductivity of the wetted zone were determined by multiplying S a with the saturated values. Infiltration experiments in a 300-cm-long five-layered soil column and a 280-cm-deep eight-layered field soil profile were conducted to test the applicability of MGAM. For comparison, the infiltration process was also simulated by the traditional Green-Ampt model (TGAM), in which the wetted zone was assumed to be fully saturated, and the Bouwer Green-Ampt model (BGAM), in which the hydraulic conductivity of the wetted zone was half that of the saturated hydraulic conductivity. The estimated S a values were very close to the measured saturation degree of soil layers at the termination of the experiment. The simulation results indicated that the TGAM overestimated the infiltration rate and cumulative infiltration, whereas the BGAM underestimated the infiltration rate and cumulative infiltration. Furthermore, the depths of the wetting fronts simulated by TGAM and BGAM were considerably smaller than those measured. The MGAM provided satisfactory simulation results and adequately described the infiltration process in both the laboratory soil column and the field soil profile. 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ma, Y., Feng, S., Zhan, H., Liu, X., Su, D., Kang, S., & Song, X.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Ma, Ying||Feng, Shaoyuan||Zhan, Hongbin||Liu, Xiaodong||Su, Dongyuan||Kang, Shaozhong||Song, Xianfang

publication date

  • August 2011