Permeability of granular soil employing flexible wall permeameter

  • Srikanth Kandalai
  • Purnendu Narayan Singh
  • Kunal Kumar Singh
Original Paper


Understanding the changes in permeability of soil, when soil is subjected to high confining pressure and flow pressure, which may alter the textural and geomechanical characteristics of soil, is of great importance to many geo-engineering activities such as, construction of high-rise buildings near the coast or the water bodies, earthen dams, pavement subgrades, reservoir, and shallow repositories. It is now possible to evaluate the changes in permeability of soil samples under varying conditions of confining pressure and flow pressure using flexible wall permeameter (FWP). In the present study, investigation was carried out on a cylindrical sample of granular soil employing FWP under varied conditions of confining pressure (σ3)—50–300 kPa, which can simulate the stress conditions equivalent to depth of about 20 m under the earth’s crust, and a flow pressure (fp)—20–120 kPa, which is mainly present near the small earthen embankment dams, landfill liners, and slurry walls near the soft granular soil with high groundwater table. The obtained results indicate a linear relationship between hydraulic conductivity (k) with effective confining pressure (σeff.), k, decreasing linearly with an incremental change in σeff.. Further, k increases significantly with an increase in fp corresponding to each σeff., and q increases significantly with increase in the fp corresponding to each (σ3). It was also observed that corresponding to the low fp of 20 kPa, the reduction in k is nonlinear with σ3. The percentage reduction in k is observed to be 9, 13, and 27% corresponding to σ3 of 50–100, 100–200, and 200-300 kPa, respectively.


Granular soil Confining stress Permeability Hydraulic conductivity Hydraulic gradient Flexible wall permeameter 

List of symbols


Hydraulic conductivity (m/s)


Hydraulic gradient (\( \frac{\Delta h}{l} \))


\( \frac{f_p}{\gamma_{w.}} \)


Flow pressure(in kPa) (Difference in pressures applied at top and base of sample)


Unit weight of water (9.81 kN/m3)


Area of the sample (m2).


Confining stress(kPa)


Cumulative volume (ml)


Dynamic viscosity of water (8.90 × 10−4 kg/m s at 25 °C)


Fluid density (997.05 kg/m3 at 25 °C)


Base pressure (kPa)


Pressure applied on top of the sample (kPa)


Length of the sample (m)


Diameter of the sample (m)


Discharge (m3/s)


Flexible wall permeameter


Rigid wall permeameter


Pore water pressure


Initial water level in base burette


Change in water level in base burette


Initial water level in top burette


Change in water level in top burette



The authors are thankful to the VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and technology, Bachupally, Hyderabad, Telangana, India, for providing the opportunity to work on this project. The authors are also grateful to the Head, vice principal, faculty members, colleagues, and Civil Engineering laboratory for providing necessary laboratory support in this research. The authors are grateful to Dr. K. V. Uday, IIT Mandi, H.P, India, for his insightful comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript. Further, the 3rd author is thankful to the Publication Division and Additional Director General and HoD, Geological Survey of India, Southern Region, Hyderabad, India, for the scrutiny and permission to submit the research article in the Journal.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srikanth Kandalai
    • 1
  • Purnendu Narayan Singh
    • 1
  • Kunal Kumar Singh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringVNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and TechnologyHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Geological Survey of IndiaHyderabadIndia

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