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It has been suggested that a triaxial shear test chamber can be used to measure the permeability of low permeability soils. To verify this, the influence of a number of test parameters on the measured coefficient of permeability was investigated. Results indicate such permeability tests should be performed on samples having a minimum diameter of 71.1 mm (2.8 in.) and a length to diameter ratio of 0.5 to 1.0. It was found that a permeant consisting of 1 g of magnesium sulfate heptahydrate (epsom salt) dissolved in 1 L of deaired, distilled water is adequate for general permeability testing. The triaxial, falling head permeability test should be conducted at a gradient that results in an applied effective stress at the outflow end of the sample less than the preconsolidation stress of the material. It was found that with very careful trimming, the influence of the smear zones created at the ends of the samples during the trimming process can be minimized.
Civil engineer, Dawe Engineers, Ankorage, AK
ProfessorMember of ASTM, University of Missouri—Rolla, Rolla, MO
Stock #: GTJ10605J