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COMPUTATION OF COEFFICIENT OF PERMEABILITY FUNCTION ,Kw() USING

SOIL WATER CHARACTERISTIC CURVE:


A statistical models use a few discrete points rather than a continuous
mathematical model to represent the permeability function of unsaturated soil,
the accuracy of statistical models is highly dependent on the numbers and locations of
these discrete points. On the other hand, the locations of these discrete
points are dependent on the manner in which the entire range of
suction is discretized into divisions. Kunze et al. (1968) proposed
equally dividing the volumetric water content,
θw, into intervals, Δθw, and calculating the interval of matric suction,
Δψ, accordingly. Equal division of the volumetric water content,
θw, makes the density, f(r), unique for all pore radii, meaning that the pore-
size distribution function follows a uniform distribution. With improvements
to the Childs and Collis-George (1950) and Marshall
(1958) equations, Kunze et al. (1968) presented a simple Eq. (1) for the
:
calculation of the permeability function
𝐾𝑠
𝐾 (𝜃𝑤) = 𝐴𝑑 ∑𝑚
𝑖=𝑖 {(2𝑗 + 1 − 2𝑖)(𝑈𝑎 − 𝑈𝑤 )−2
𝑗 } ……1
𝐾𝑠𝑐
Where i=1,2,….m,
kw(θw)i predicted coefficient of permeability for volumetric water
content;
ua air pressure (kPa);
uw pore-water pressure (kPa);
(θw)i corresponds to the ith interval (m/s);
i= interval number that increases as the volumetric water co
n tent decreases;
j a count from “i” to “m”;
m= total number of intervals between the saturated volumetri
c water content,
θs=
,and the lowest volumetric water content,
θL
;ks measured saturated coefficient of permeability (m/s);
ksc calculated saturated coeffcient of permeability (m/s);
Ad adjusting constant;

𝑝
𝑇𝑆2 𝜌𝑤 𝑔𝜃𝑠
2𝜇𝑤 𝑁2
Ts= surface tension of water

𝜌𝑤 = 𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑦
G =gravitational acceleration

𝜇𝑤 = 𝑜𝑏𝑠𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑡𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟

𝜃𝑠 = 𝑣𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑚𝑒𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐 𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑟 𝑧𝑒𝑟𝑜 𝑠𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛

P=a constant which account for interaction of pores of vorous sizes, the magnitude of p can beset to 2

N= total number of intervals computed between the saturated volumetric water content
,𝜃𝑙, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑧𝑒𝑟𝑜 𝑣𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑚𝑒𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐 𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡

(Ua-Uw)j=matric suction corresponding to the jth interval

𝐾𝑠𝑐 = 𝐴𝑑 ∑{2𝑗 + 1 − 2𝑖}(𝑈𝑎 − 𝑈𝑤)−2


𝑗 }
𝑗=1
i=0,1,2,…m

substituting the matric suctions corresponding to the mid-points along soil-water characteristic curve
into equation 2 and assumeing Ad=1 we can get the value of Ksc. Then we find the ratio between Ks to
Ksc. Then we can conepute Kw by substituting all these values in equation 1.

The following example is taken to illuzlrate the technique by which coefficient of permeability 𝐾𝑤 (𝜃𝑤 )
can be computed as function of water content.

Let us consider a soil water characteristic curve. The curve is divided into m=20 intervals. If volumetric
water content as shown in figure.
It can be seen that the curve has a maximum and minimum volumetric water contents of 0.3877 and
0.1091 respectively. The first volumetric water content correspondsto saturated condition, ie (Ua-Uw)
equals to zero.

Then, the value of Ksc is computed using equation 2 and the value of Ksc was found to be 0.977042m/s.

Ie; Ksc=0.9770662 m/s

The computation of Ksc can be shown in a tabular form in Table 1.


𝑚
The Ks value is taken as 5.83 ∗ 10−8 ( ).
𝑠

This is independently measured in the laboratory.

Ad term is assumed as unity, ie Ad=1

𝐾𝑠 5.83∗10−8
𝐾𝑠𝑐
= 0.9770662 = 5.96684 ∗ 10−8Keeping these values of Ad,

𝐾𝑠
𝐾𝑠𝑐
and corresponding matric suctions in equation 1 , the permeability values are computed
Matric suction (Ua-Uw) KPa Coefficient of permeability, (𝐾𝑤 (𝜃𝑤 )(m/s)
0 5.83*10^-8
5.4 4.63 ∗ 10−8
10.8 3.94 ∗ 10−8
12.55 3.35 ∗ 10−8
14.3 2.85 ∗ 10−8
15.5 2.42 ∗ 10−8
16.7 2.04 ∗ 10−8
17.65 1.7 ∗ 10−8
18.6 1.41 ∗ 10−8
19.5 1.16 ∗ 10−8
20.4 9.35 ∗ 10−9
21.4 7.42 ∗ 10−9
22.4 5.778 ∗ 10−9
23.35 4.38 ∗ 10−9
24.3 3.2 ∗ 10−9
25.25 2.24 ∗ 10−9
26.2 1.48 ∗ 10−9
27.65 8.88 ∗ 10−10
29.1 4.66 ∗ 10−10
32.65 1.93 ∗ 10−10
36.2 4.55 ∗ 10−11