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A probe using an actinium-beryllium neutron source and a scintillation-type detector was designed and built for use in determining the moisture density in soils below the surface of the ground. A portable battery-operated sealer was selected to make it possible to use the equipment in places where there is no available a-c supply.
Since the principle of the neutron moisture meter is based upon the physical interaction of neutrons with hydrogen atoms, considerable thought was given to the idea of calibrating the instrument in media other than actual soils; the advantages of using substitute materials are better uniformity and better control of both bulk density and distribution of hydrogen atoms.
Requirements ol the artificial media are discussed and those adopted for calibration are described.
Research Officer, National Research Conncil, Ottawa,