Change in Hydraulic Conductivity of Expansive Soils Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/h702q8180

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  • Swelling soils cause millions of dollars of damage to buildings every year in the Unites States alone. One essential piece to understanding these soils is to understand how water moves through them. Hydraulic conductivity is a measure of how easily water flows through a soil. Currently, the most common method of finding the hydraulic conductivity of a saturated soil is to confine the sample in a rigid container and saturate it for 24 hours, then measure the value and assume that it is constant. This method assumes that the hydraulic conductivity of the soil is not dependent on the swelling of the soil or the length of time that it is saturated. The validity of this assumption was evaluated in this project. The goal of this project is to quantify how the hydraulic conductivity and swelling of the Chilean soil changes over time with continuous saturation, when the soil is allowed to swell freely. A standard soil core was wrapped in latex and submerged it in a sealed jar full of water. Water was then allowed to flow from one end of the soil to the other, and a container was connected to the jar, that allowed water to flow between the two as water was displaced. The hydraulic conductivity of the soil was be calculated at each point in time using mass, pressure, and temperature measurements. The three significant samples used in this experiment each expanded about 10-15% initially then decreased in volume by about 2-3% slowly over time. A total of 90-100 pore volumes were flowed through each sample. Each of the samples initially increased in hydraulic conductivity during the first 24 hours then slowly decreased by about a factor of two in hydraulic conductivity from 1 day to 5-8 days. These data show that the assumption that saturated hydraulic conductivity is constant is violated by real soil. Key Words: expansive, soil, hydraulic, conductivity
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