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The evaluation of the hydraulic performance of geotextiles from field experiments is not an easy task as it takes a long time before conclusions can be drawn. Laboratory research is the only possibility to evaluate the performance of various geotextiles in a relatively short period.
Permeameters with upward flow are used to achieve that purpose. As the flow of water through a soil is not a static process, an increasing hydraulic gradient is applied. Tests normally last three weeks. They allow the prediction of the risk of particle passage as well as the risk of blocking and clogging. However, results cannot be expressed as a gradient ratio only. The gradient ratio just gives an overall picture of the behavior of soil and envelope. To evaluate the hydraulic performance of the envelope, a comparison must be made between the evolution of the hydraulic gradient in the soil and the hydraulic gradient across the geotextile.
Permeameter tests designed to evaluate the performance of geotextiles require careful preparation and accurate execution. Not only soil types but also soil conditions may influence the final results. The experience with permeameter research is described and results are presented.
geotextile performance, permeameter research, particle passage, geotextile blocking, geotextile clogging
Senior Research Officer, Agricultural Research Center, CLO, Gent, Research Station for Agricultural Engineering, Merelbeke,