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Title: Hydraulic conductivity of clays in confined tests under low hydraulic gradients
Authors: Dixon, DA
Graham, J
Gray, MN
Keywords: hydraulic conductivity
Issue Date: 31-Oct-1999
Citation: 0008-3674; CAN GEOTECH J, OCT 1999, vol. 36, no. 5, p.815 to 825.
Abstract: Clay barriers normally function at hydraulic gradients much lower than are commonly used in laboratory tests for hydraulic conductivity. This paper describes low-gradient tests on compacted illite, Na-bentonite, and sand-bentonite specimens at a range of dry densities. The tests examined the effects of deionized or saline pore fluid, the initial degree of saturation at the time of compaction, and back-pressuring to achieve saturation during permeation. No "critical" or "threshold" gradients were observed. In low-density materials, "transitional" gradients de-fined two separate regions of Darcian flow. Low flow rates and low hydraulic conductivities were associated with hydraulic gradients below the transitional gradient. Higher conductivities were associated with gradients above the transitional gradient. Hydraulic conductivities decreased with increasing initial density. They appeared independent of initial degree of saturation or back-pressuring. Tests on Na-rich bentonite showed that deionized and saline permeants produced similar hydraulic conductivities. Measured hydraulic conductivities were in reasonable agreement with values computed using the Poiseuille and Kozeny-Carman equations.
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