Volume 34, Issue 5 (September 2011)
Non-isothermal moisture movement in unsaturated kaolin: An experimental and theoretical investigation
Non isothermal moisture movement in unsaturated kaolin is investigated in a series of experiments. Vapour transfer is then empirically quantified, and its theoretical representation considered. A thermo-hydraulic cell is used to apply thermal and hydraulic gradients to confined specimens in a number of thermal gradient, thermal-hydraulic gradient, and isothermal-hydraulic tests. Transient measurements of the thermal regime are made, and end of test measurement of moisture content, porosity, and chemical composition from a number of identical tests run for different durations allow pseudo transient variations of these parameters to be established. In each of the tests, where a thermal gradient is applied, the accumulation of chloride ions in the hottest regions indicates a cyclic movement of vapour and liquid moisture. Estimated vapour fluxes are determined by consideration of overall moisture and conservative ion movements in the sealed thermal gradient tests. These vapour fluxes are then compared to those predicted by an established vapour flow theory, and a modification to this theory is proposed based on a variable enhancement factor.