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A measure of how easily a fluid (e.g., water) can pass through a porous medium (e.g., soils)

water

Loose soil - easy to flow - high permeability

Dense soil - difficult to flow - low permeability


3

The energy of a fluid particle is made of:

1. Kinetic energy
- due to velocity

fluid particle

2. Strain energy
- due to pressure

datum

3. Potential energy
- due to elevation (z) with respect to a datum
4

Expressing energy in unit of length:

Velocity head +
Total head =

fluid particle

Pressure head +

datum

Elevation head

For flow through soils, velocity (and thus velocity head) is very small. Therefore,

Velocity head +
Total head =

fluid particle

Pressure head +

datum

Elevation head
Total head = Pressure head + Elevation head

If flow is from A to B, total head is higher at A than at B.

Energy is dissipated in overcoming the soil resistance and hence is the head loss.

water B

At any point within the flow regime:


Pressure head = pore water pressure/w

Elevation head = height above the selected datum

Hydraulic gradient (i) between A and B is the total head loss per unit length.

TH A TH B i l AB
length AB, along the stream line

water B

In laminar flow each particle travels along a definite path which never crosses the path of other particles In turbulent flow the paths are irregular and twisting, crossing and recrossing at random. Since pores of most soils are small, flow through them is invariably laminar

10

Flow through a Dam

Unsaturated Soil

Flow of water

Definition of Head at a Point

u w ( P) h ( P) z( P ) w
P

(1)

Note
z(P)
z is measured vertically up from the datum

Datum

Example: Static water table


1. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

Example: Static water table


1. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer


u w ( P) 4 w

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

Example: Static water table


1. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer


u w ( P) z( P )
P 5m

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum

4 w 1

Example: Static water table


1. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer


u w ( P) z( P )
P 5 m thus

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum

4 w 1 4 w 1 5m w

h( P)

Example: Static water table


2. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer u w ( X) w

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

Example: Static water table


2. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer u w ( X) z ( X) w 4

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

Example: Static water table


2. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer u w ( X) z ( X)


h ( X)

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5 m thus

w 4
w 4 5m

Example: Static water table


2. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the top of the impermeable layer u w ( X) z ( X)


h ( X)

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5 m thus

w 4
w 4 5m

The heads at P and X are identical does this imply that the head is constant throughout the region below a static water table?

Example: Static water table


3. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the water table

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

Example: Static water table


3. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the water table


4 w

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

u w ( P) =

Example: Static water table


3. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the water table


4 w -4

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

u w ( P) = z( P) =

Example: Static water table


3. Calculation of head at P

Choose datum at the water table


4 w -4 4 w w

2m
1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

u w ( P) = z( P) thus h( P) = =

- 4 = 0m

Example: Static water table


4. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the water table


2m 1m X 5m

u w ( X) 1 w

1m Impermeable stratum

Example: Static water table


4. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the water table


2m 1m X 5m

u w ( X) 1 w z( X) 1

1m Impermeable stratum

Example: Static water table


4. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the water table


2m 1m X 5m

u w ( X) 1 w z( X) 1
thus h ( X)

1m Impermeable stratum

w 1 0m w

Example: Static water table


4. Calculation of head at X

Choose datum at the water table


2m 1m X 5m

u w ( X) 1 w z( X) 1
thus h ( X)

1m Impermeable stratum

w 1 0m w

Again, the head at P and X is identical, but the value is different

Head
The value of the head depends on the choice of datum

Head
The value of the head depends on the choice of datum
Differences in head are required for flow (not pressure)

Head
The value of the head depends on the choice of datum
Differences in head are required for flow (not pressure)

2m 1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

It can be helpful to consider imaginary standpipes placed in the soil at the points where the head is required

Head
The value of the head depends on the choice of datum
Differences in head are required for flow (not pressure)

2m 1m X 1m Impermeable stratum P 5m

It can be helpful to consider imaginary standpipes placed in the soil at the points where the head is required

The head is the elevation of the water level in the standpipe above the datum

Water flow through soil


Dh

Soil Sample

DL
Darcy found that the flow (volume per unit time) was

proportional to the head difference Dh proportional to the cross-sectional area A inversely proportional to the length of sample DL

Darcys Law
Thus Dh Q kA DL

(2a)

where k is the coefficient of permeability or hydraulic conductivity.

Darcys Law
Thus Dh Q kA DL

(2a)

where k is the coefficient of permeability or hydraulic conductivity. Equation (2a) may be written as

Q k Ai

Darcys Law
Thus Dh Q kA DL

(2a)

where k is the coefficient of permeability or hydraulic conductivity. Equation (2a) may be written as

Q k Ai
or where i = Dh/DL v = Q/A v=ki (2b)

the hydraulic gradient the Darcy or superficial velocity

From Darcys law

applicable to relatively pervious or coarse grained soils

40

Measurement of permeability
Standpipe of cross-sectional area a

porous disk
H Sample H2 L of area A

H1

Fig. 5 Falling Head Permeameter

Falling head permeameter


Analysis
Consider a time interval dt Standpipe of area a

dH The flow in the standpipe = a dt


H1 H L Sample of area A H2

Falling head permeameter


Analysis
Consider a time interval dt Standpipe of area a

dH The flow in the standpipe = a dt


The flow in the sample =

H kA L
L Sample of area A

H1 H H2

Falling head permeameter


Analysis
Consider a time interval dt Standpipe of area a

dH The flow in the standpipe = a dt


The flow in the sample and thus
dH H a kA dt L

H kA L
L Sample of area A

H1 H H2

(4a)

Falling head permeameter Solution


dH H a kA dt L (4a)
Standpipe of area a

Equation (4a) has the solution:


H1

kA t aln( H ) L

(4b)

Sample of area A

H2

Falling head permeameter Solution


dH H a kA dt L (4a)
Standpipe of area a

Equation (4a) has the solution:


H1 kA t aln( H ) L Initially H=H1 at time t=t1 Finally H=H2 at time t=t2. (4b) H Sample of area A H2

aL ln( H1 / H 2 ) k A t 2 t1

(4c)

Typical permeability values


10-1 10-2 10-3 10-4 10-5 10-6 10-7 10-8 10-9 10-10 10-11 10-12 Gravels Sands Silts
Fissured & Weathered Clays

Homogeneous Clays

Typical Permeability Ranges (metres/second) Soils exhibit a wide range of permeabilities and while particle size may vary by about 3-4 orders of magnitude permeability may vary by about 10 orders of magnitude.

Definition of Hydraulic Gradients


For horizontal flow v=vx and k=kH and thus
A

vx where
C

k Hix h ( C ) h ( B) (5a) Dx kH h x

Dz
B O

ix and thus
x

Dx

vx

Definition of Hydraulic Gradients


For vertical flow v=vz and k=kV and thus A

Dz
B O

vz
C x

k V i z

where iz and thus vz h k V z h( A ) h(B) (5b) Dz

Dx

Valid for saturated soil samples under laminar flow Any flow with a Reynolds number less than one is clearly laminar. Experimental tests have shown that flows with Reynolds numbers up to 10 may still be Darcian, as in the case of groundwater flow.

Reynolds number
52

Permeant Fluid Properties Soil Characteristics 1. Grain-size 2. Void ratio 3. Degree of saturation 4. Presence of entrapped air and other foreign matter.

53

Fig. 8 Plane Flow under a Dam


Cross section of a long dam (flow in the y direction is negligible)

Dam

z
Soil

Flow

Impermeable bedrock

vz
C

Fig. 9 Flow into a soil element


B
Dz

vx

Soil Element A

Dx

Net flow =(vx(B)-vx(D))DyDz+(vz(C)-vz(A)) DxDy

(6a)

For steady state seepage the net flow in will be zero, thus

v x v z 0 x z

(6b)

vz
C

Fig. 9 Flow into a soil element


B
Dz

vx

Soil Element A

Dx

Net flow =(vx(B)-vx(D))DyDz+(vz(C)-vz(A)) DxDy

(6a)

For steady state seepage the net flow in will be zero, thus

v x v z 0 x z

(6b)

Continuity Equation
Continuity Equation

v x v z x z

0 (6b)

Continuity Equation
Continuity Equation

v x v z x z

0 (6b)

+
Darcys Law

Darcy's Law

+
vx vz h k H x h k V z
(5)

Continuity Equation
Continuity Equation

v x v z x z

0 (6b)

+
Darcys Law

Darcy's Law

+
vx vz h k H x h k V z
(5)

Flow equation

h h ( k H ) ( k V ) 0 (7b) x x z z

Flow equation

h h (k H ) (k V ) 0 x x z z

(7b)

Flow equation

h h (k H ) (k V ) 0 x x z z

(7b)

For a homogeneous soil

h h kH 2 kV 2 0 x z
2 2

(7c)

Flow equation

h h (k H ) (k V ) 0 x x z z

(7b)

For a homogeneous soil

h h kH 2 kV 2 0 x z
2 2

(7c)

For an isotropic soil

h h 2 0 2 x z
2 2

(7d)