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Factors Affecting Permeability:

Permeability can be obtained from the theoretical equation of Kozeny-Carman

for flow through porous medium

Where C = Composite shape factor

D0= Representative particle size
e = Void ratio
w = Density of water,
n = Viscosity of water
The factors which affect the permeability are:
(i) Properties of pore fluid
(ii) Size and shape of particles
(iii) Void ratio of soil
(iv) Structural arrangement of soil particles
(v) Degree of saturation
(vi) Adsorbed water
(viii) Stratification
(i) Properties of pore fluid:

From equation 4.3 it is clear that the density and viscosity are the two physical
properties of pore fluid (or water) which affects the permeability. The
coefficient of permeability is directly proportional to density of water and
inversely proportional to its viscosity. The value of density of water does not
change much with the change in temperature but there is a great variation in
viscosity. The viscosity decreases with increase in temperature and therefore
permeability increase with increase in temperature.
(ii) Size and shape of particles:
Permeability of soil is directly proportional to the square of the particle size as
shown in equation 4.3. This is most significant factor affecting permeability of
soil as they decide the void ratio, size and shape of pores in a soil mass. A
coarse soil has larger pore sizes and here greater K i.e. coefficient of
permeability than the fine grained soils.
(iii) Void ratio of soil:
The marked influence of void ratio on permeability of soil as shown in the
equation 4.3 has been experimentally verified.
K e3 / 1+e
From the above equation it is clear that K is directly proportional to the void
ratio i.e. more the void ratio of soil more will be the permeability. A semi-log
relationship also exists between K and e. A plot of log K (log scale) Vg e
(linear scale) is approximately a straight line both coarse grained and fine
grained soil.

(iv) Structural arrangement of soil particles:

The structural arrangement of the soil particles vary, at the same void ratio,
depending upon the method of compaction of soil mass. The permeability of
disturbed sample may be different from that of the undisturbed sample at the
same void ratio. The effect of structural disturbance on permeability is much
pronounced in fine grained soils.
(v) Degree of saturation:
The permeability of soil is observed to vary directly with the cube of the
degree of saturation. Thus the more the saturated soil, more will be the
permeability. However the pressure of entrapped air in soil pores obstructs the
flow of water.
(vi) Adsorbed water:
Fine particles of clay are surrounded by films of adsorbed water. Forces of
adsorption and development of diffuse ion-layer around the clay particles
create immobilized hydrodynamic layers of water, thereby reducing the
effective pore space available for seepage.
(vii) Stratification:

Layered soil posses different permeability characteristics. The permeability of

the same soil is more when the flow is parallel to the layer than the
permeability when the flow is perpendicular to the layer.