ABSTRACT Laboratory soil column experiments were conducted to study the distribution of preferential flow paths resulting from removal of fine-size clay particles. These experiments specifically studied the influence of clay (kaolinite) percentage in sand-clay mixtures and the effect of hydraulic gradients on pore evolution. Analysis of the effluent during the experiments indicated that clay particles were removed from the soil column, accompanied by an increase in porosity and hydraulic conductivity. Dye experiments were conducted on the same columns to stain the pathways where clay particle removal occurred. It was observed that pore formation was fairly uniform in some cases, while other cases showed distinct preferential flow path formation. A physically-based model was used to identify a dimensionless parameter, G, which expresses the ratio of detachment and deposition forces at any space-time location. A model, based on equivalent media theory, is proposed to describe the hydraulic conductivity of soils with preferential flow paths. Future work will test the theoretical expressions for conductivity with experimental results, and investigate the relationship between G and the equivalent conductivity for such soils.
KEYWORDS: conductivity, soil, modeling
This paper is from the Proceedings of the HSRC/WERC Joint Conference on the Environment, May 1996, published in hard copy and on the Web by the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Research Center.
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