Name: Mihai Cimpoiasu
Project title: Combining geoelectrical imaging and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) for improved hydraulic characterisation of soils
Where based: BGS/University of Nottingham
I come from a family of Scientists as both of my parents are teaching physics at the University of Craiova, Romania, the town where I grew up. Needless to say I was attracted to science but more specifically Physics, but also Geography, hence I pursued a bachelor degree in Geophysics at the University of Edinburgh. I was part of a research project during the summer between my 3rd and 4th year of study which was looking at near-surface variations of the water table observed with geoelectrical techniques. The results I took from this research materialised in a final year project the following year. When I was searching for a PhD project I came across the STARS project Dr. Oliver Kuras has put forward. This caught my interest because involved geoelectrical imaging, which I had worked with before and also X-ray CT, a promising and interesting technology. I look forward working towards a great outcome of this project together with the wonderful team I have found at STARS, BGS and University of Nottingham.
As the title suggests the project is looking to combine the capabilities of two already developed imaging technologies: geoelectrical imaging and X-ray Computer Tomography. Each technology has its advantages and limitations. The resolution of ERT (Electrical Resistivity Tomography) is limited to a macroscopic scale, whereas X-ray CT can further examine pore scale geometry and observe sensible changes at microscopic level. X-ray is currently limited to obtaining 3D profiles of small samples, but ERT technology has the advantage of being able to take continuous measurements upon larger areas these eventually concluding in a time-lapse modelling of the examined soil. The relation between the two has the potential to improve the quality of hydraulic characterisation of soils which can include: fluid flow dynamics, fluid flow patterns, plant water uptake, root development over time etc.