7 Factors Affecting The Permeability of Soil

7 Factors Affecting The Permeability of Soil

Following are the 7 Factors Affecting The Permeability of Soil:

1) Size of particles

The permeability varies approximately as the square of the grain size. Relationship is $K = CD^{2} \frac{e^{3}}{1+e}\frac{\gamma_{w} }{\mu }$ , where $D$ is the effective diameter of the soil particles in cm. From the above equation we can say, the permeability of soil is directly proportional to the square root of the particle diameter. If the soil particle is large then permeability will be high, and if the soil particle is small then permeability will be less.

This happens because the large particle contain large volume of voids, and other hands small particle contain small volume of voids. Hence, the flow of water through soil mass will be more in case large particle.

2. Specific Surface and Shape

The permeability of coarse-grained soil is inversely proportional to the specific surface of particles at a given porosity. Relationship is $K = \frac{1}{K_k\eta (S_s)^2} \times \frac{n^3}{1-n^2}$ , where $S_s$ is the specific surface of particles.

3) Properties of the pore fluid

The permeability is directly proportional to the unit weight of water and inversely proportional to its viscosity. Again the viscosity change with the change in temperature. Normally, with the increase in temperature viscosity decreases and hence permeability increases.

4) Void ratio of soil

The permeability (k) is directly proportional to c.e3/ (1+e), where ‘c’ is a factor and ‘e’ is the void ratio. Hence permeability decrease with decrease in void ratio & vice-versa.

5) The structural arrangement of soil particles

The permeability may vary with different geometric arrangement and shape of voids.

If the particles are arranged in a flocculated structure, then the permeability will be low. On the other hand, if the particles are arranged in a dispersed structure, then permeability will be high.

Permeability of soil also depends on the structural defects like crack

6) Entrapped air and organic impurities

The permeability is greatly reduced if the air is entrapped in the voids. Presence of organic foreign matter in soil mass also decreases the permeability.