Measurement of permeability using a bench-top centrifuge

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The commonly used British Standard constant head triaxial permeability test for testing of fine-grained soils is relatively time consuming. A reduction in the required time for soil permeability testing would provide potential cost savings to the construction industry, particularly in the construction quality assurance of landfill clay liners. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate an alternative approach of measuring permeability of fine-grained soils benefiting from accelerated time scaling for seepage flow when testing specimens in elevated gravity conditions provided by a centrifuge. As part of the investigation, an apparatus was designed and produced to measure water flow through soil samples under conditions of elevated gravitational acceleration using a small desktop laboratory centrifuge. A membrane was used to hydrostatically confine the test sample. A miniature data acquisition system was designed and incorporated in the apparatus to monitor and record changes in head and flow throughout the tests. Under enhanced gravity in the centrifuge, the flow through the sample was under ‘variable head' conditions as opposed to ‘constant head' conditions as in the classic constant head permeability tests conducted at 1 g . A mathematical model was developed for analysis of Darcy's coefficient of permeability under conditions of elevated gravitational acceleration and verified using the results obtained. The test data compare well with the results on analogous samples obtained using the classical British Standard constant head permeability tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


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