Carvalho, S.C.P., de Lima, J.L.M.P. & de Lima, M.I.P. (2016) Increasing the rainfall kinetic energy of spray nozzles by using meshes.Land Degradation & Development, 27(4), 1295-1302. DOI:10.1002/ldr.2349 (IF2016 9.78,; Q1 Soil Sciences)
Rainfall simulators are an important tool in studying soil erosion, which is a key process contributing to land degradation. The kinetic energy of simulated rain is central to these studies and it is used as an indicator of the raindrops' ability to detach particles from the soil surface. The main purpose of this experimental work was to explore the usefulness of incorporating meshes underneath pressurised nozzles' rain simulators that intercept the drops sprayed out by the nozzles and change the simulated rain characteristics, namely by increasing the rainfall kinetic energy. The laboratory experiments included testing four types of spray nozzles (discharge from 2·3 to 11·9 L min−1), combined with a high-density polyethylene mesh (square aperture of 20 mm). The effect of the mesh was studied for three vertical distances between the nozzle and the mesh (0·20, 0·40 and 0·60 m). A laser disdrometer was used to measure the diameter and fall speed of the simulated raindrops. For the mesh-free simulations, the nozzles produced drops having on average a mean equivalent diameter of around 0·6 mm and a mean fall speed of about 1·5 m s−1. The mesh increased the formation of bigger drops (>2·5 mm) and, consequently, increased the rainfall kinetic energy of the simulated rain; the magnitude of this increase varied with the spray produced by the nozzles. Results show that meshes can be useful for increasing the kinetic energy of the rainfall simulated by nozzles within soil erosion studies.