Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 166–180 | Cite as

Estimating parameters for the Kostiakov-Lewis infiltration model from soil physical properties

  • Guoqing Lei
  • Guisheng FanEmail author
  • Wenzhi ZengEmail author
  • Jiesheng Huang
Soils, Sec 2 • Global Change, Environ Risk Assess, Sustainable Land Use • Research Article



Infiltration modeling is an important tool to describe the process of water infiltration in the soil. However, direct measurements of the parameters of infiltration models are usually time-consuming and laborious. The present study proposed an effective method to estimate parameters of the Kostiakov-Lewis model (a classical infiltration model) from soil physical properties (SPPs).

Materials and methods

Parameters k, α, and f0 of the Kostiakov-Lewis infiltration models were measured in 240 double-ring field experiments in Shanxi Province, China. SPPs at the corresponding experimental points were measured at the topsoil layer (TL, 0–20 cm) and the top-subsoil layer (TSL, 0–20 and 20–40 cm). The Kennard-Stone (KS) sampling method and principal component analysis (PCA) were used for dividing training samples and extracting principal components (PCs) of SPPs, respectively. Partial least squares (PLS), back-propagation neural networks (BPNNs), and a support vector machine (SVM) were used to establish models for estimating k, α, and f0 with the SPPs of TL and TSL as the input variables (IV).

Results and discussion

The differences in soil density (BD), texture, and moisture content (θv) were found in topsoil and subsoil, but loading distributions of SPPs on PCs present different degrees of correlation. Moreover, SVM produced the most accurate estimation among these three methods for using the SPP of TL and TSL as inputs. The highest accuracy for k estimations was obtained by SVM using the SPP of TL as IV; R and RMSE in the model test process were 0.78 and 0.3 cm min−1, respectively. However, using SPP of TSL as IV obtained the highest accuracy for both α and f0 estimations with the SVM method (R values were 0.71 and 0.82, respectively, and RMSE values were 0.03 and 0.018 cm min−1) in the model testing.


The SVM method with SPPs as inputs is an effective and practical method for estimating the parameters of the Kostiakov-Lewis infiltration model.


Estimation modeling Infiltration parameters Kostiakov-Lewis Soil physical properties 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 51879196, 51790533, and 51609175) and the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin (China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research) (grant no. IWHR-SKL-KF201814).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Water Resource Science and EngineeringTaiyuan University of TechnologyTaiyuanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Soil, Water, and Environmental Science Department, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of the Water Cycle in River BasinsChina Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower ResearchBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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