A modification of the constant-head permeameter to measure saturated hydraulic conductivity of highly permeable media

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Abstract

The saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) is a key characteristic of porous media, describing the rate of water flow through saturated porous media. It is an indispensable parameter in a broad range of simulation models that quantify saturated and/or unsaturated water flow. The constant-head permeameter test is a common laboratory method to determine Ks on undisturbed soil samples collected from the field. In this paper we show that the application of this conventional method may result in a biased Ks in the case of highly permeable media, such as the top layer of Sphagnum peat and gravel. Tubes in the conventional permeameter, that collect water under the sample, introduce a hydraulic head-dependent resistance for highly permeable media and result in an underestimation of Ks. We present a simple and low-budget alternative of the constant-head permeameter test that overcomes the disadvantages of conventional permeameters. The new method was successfully tested on intact highly permeable peatmoss collected from a northern peatland. • Conventional constant-head permeameters underestimate Ks of highly permeable media due to flow resistance in tubing systems• We developed the low-resistance permeameter to overcome this disadvantage.• Testing of the low-resistance permeameter demonstrated no systematic bias and successful application for highly permeable media.
LanguageEnglish
Pages134-142
JournalMethodsX
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Hydraulic conductivity
Porous materials
Head
Flow of water
Peat
Water
Gravel
Tubing
Soil
Sphagnopsida
Hydraulics
Soils
Testing
Budgets

Keywords

  • Compression
  • Laboratory method
  • Low-resistance permeameter
  • Peat
  • Permeability
  • Reynolds number
  • Soil physics
  • Sphagnum

Cite this

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title = "A modification of the constant-head permeameter to measure saturated hydraulic conductivity of highly permeable media",
abstract = "The saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) is a key characteristic of porous media, describing the rate of water flow through saturated porous media. It is an indispensable parameter in a broad range of simulation models that quantify saturated and/or unsaturated water flow. The constant-head permeameter test is a common laboratory method to determine Ks on undisturbed soil samples collected from the field. In this paper we show that the application of this conventional method may result in a biased Ks in the case of highly permeable media, such as the top layer of Sphagnum peat and gravel. Tubes in the conventional permeameter, that collect water under the sample, introduce a hydraulic head-dependent resistance for highly permeable media and result in an underestimation of Ks. We present a simple and low-budget alternative of the constant-head permeameter test that overcomes the disadvantages of conventional permeameters. The new method was successfully tested on intact highly permeable peatmoss collected from a northern peatland. • Conventional constant-head permeameters underestimate Ks of highly permeable media due to flow resistance in tubing systems• We developed the low-resistance permeameter to overcome this disadvantage.• Testing of the low-resistance permeameter demonstrated no systematic bias and successful application for highly permeable media.",
keywords = "Compression, Laboratory method, Low-resistance permeameter, Peat, Permeability, Reynolds number, Soil physics, Sphagnum",
author = "Nijp, {Jelmer J.} and Klaas Metselaar and Juul Limpens and Gooren, {Harm P.A.} and {van der Zee}, {Sjoerd E.A.T.M.}",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1016/j.mex.2017.02.002",
language = "English",
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pages = "134--142",
journal = "MethodsX",
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T1 - A modification of the constant-head permeameter to measure saturated hydraulic conductivity of highly permeable media

AU - Nijp, Jelmer J.

AU - Metselaar, Klaas

AU - Limpens, Juul

AU - Gooren, Harm P.A.

AU - van der Zee, Sjoerd E.A.T.M.

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - The saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) is a key characteristic of porous media, describing the rate of water flow through saturated porous media. It is an indispensable parameter in a broad range of simulation models that quantify saturated and/or unsaturated water flow. The constant-head permeameter test is a common laboratory method to determine Ks on undisturbed soil samples collected from the field. In this paper we show that the application of this conventional method may result in a biased Ks in the case of highly permeable media, such as the top layer of Sphagnum peat and gravel. Tubes in the conventional permeameter, that collect water under the sample, introduce a hydraulic head-dependent resistance for highly permeable media and result in an underestimation of Ks. We present a simple and low-budget alternative of the constant-head permeameter test that overcomes the disadvantages of conventional permeameters. The new method was successfully tested on intact highly permeable peatmoss collected from a northern peatland. • Conventional constant-head permeameters underestimate Ks of highly permeable media due to flow resistance in tubing systems• We developed the low-resistance permeameter to overcome this disadvantage.• Testing of the low-resistance permeameter demonstrated no systematic bias and successful application for highly permeable media.

AB - The saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) is a key characteristic of porous media, describing the rate of water flow through saturated porous media. It is an indispensable parameter in a broad range of simulation models that quantify saturated and/or unsaturated water flow. The constant-head permeameter test is a common laboratory method to determine Ks on undisturbed soil samples collected from the field. In this paper we show that the application of this conventional method may result in a biased Ks in the case of highly permeable media, such as the top layer of Sphagnum peat and gravel. Tubes in the conventional permeameter, that collect water under the sample, introduce a hydraulic head-dependent resistance for highly permeable media and result in an underestimation of Ks. We present a simple and low-budget alternative of the constant-head permeameter test that overcomes the disadvantages of conventional permeameters. The new method was successfully tested on intact highly permeable peatmoss collected from a northern peatland. • Conventional constant-head permeameters underestimate Ks of highly permeable media due to flow resistance in tubing systems• We developed the low-resistance permeameter to overcome this disadvantage.• Testing of the low-resistance permeameter demonstrated no systematic bias and successful application for highly permeable media.

KW - Compression

KW - Laboratory method

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KW - Soil physics

KW - Sphagnum

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