You are here: NRS Home / Publications & Data / Matric potential

Publication Details

Publication Toolbox
  • Download PDF (257 KB)
  • This publication is available only online.

Matric potential

  • Tyree, Melvin T.

Year Published



Encyclopedia of Water Science. 615-617.


Matric potential, r, is a component of water potential, ?, but has different meanings in plant physiology vs. soil science. A rigorous definition of r requires a reference to principles of thermodynamics (both classical and irreversible thermodynamics). A rigorous treatment is beyond the scope of this brief overview. Readers interested in a detailed definition are advised to read the article of Ref. [5], but should be prepared to wade through 227 equations in a terse, 25-page article requiring a firm grasp of thermodynamics. Less detailed treatments can be found in Ref. [6] for soils and Ref. [7] for plant tissue.


Tyree, Melvin T. 2003. Matric potential. Encyclopedia of Water Science. 615-617.
Last updated on: November 21, 2008

NRS at a Glance