Food–water security is a matter of great concern in regions with hot and arid climates, such as the Middle East, western Australia, and northwestern India. High evaporation of water from the topsoil due to intense heat and lack of replenishable freshwater presents an important avenue for enhancing irrigation efficiency. In response, our team has developed SuperHydrophobic Sand (SHS) mulch technology, which reduces the evaporative water loss from the topsoil. In this thesis, we report our study of evaporation fluxes of water from sandy soils and SHS-mulched soils columns in a steady-state regime. Specifically, we studied the effects of SHS treatment (5 and 10 mm-thick) on the evaporative fluxes from fine and coarse silica sands as a function of the following factors: the water table depth, air temperature, and sand albedo. An image analysis software was developed to realize a simple and inexpensive method to analyze the results of multiple experiments in parallel. The results revealed that 10 mm-thick SHS layer reduced the evaporative flux by 80% in comparison with the bare fine sand, . This experimental design and image analysis software present a simple but realistic platform to study heat and mass transfer across soils.
Amr Al-Zu'bi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Jordan, after graduating in 2021, he directly enrolled as a MS/PhD. student at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), His current research focus is in the field of Hydrology, where he is passionately working towards finding innovative solutions to reduce the water footprint of agriculture