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Designation: D 5084 – 03
Standard Test Methods for
Measurement of Hydraulic Conductivity of Saturated Porous
Materials Using a Flexible Wall Permeameter1
This standard is issued under the fixed designation D 5084; the number immediately following the designation indicates the year of
original adoption or, in the case of revision, the year of last revision. A number in parentheses indicates the year of last reapproval. A
superscript epsilon (e) indicates an editorial change since the last revision or reapproval.
1.3.2 If the hydraulic conductivity is less than about
1 3 10−11 m/s, then standard hydraulic systems and temperature environments will typically not suffice. Strategies that may
be possible when dealing with such impervious materials may
include the following: (a) controlling the temperature more
precisely, (b) adoption of unsteady state measurements by
using high-accuracy equipment along with the rigorous analyses for determining the hydraulic parameters (this approach
reduces testing duration according to Zhang et al. (1)2), and (c)
shortening the length or enlarging the cross-sectional area, or
both, of the test specimen. Other items, such as use of higher
hydraulic gradients, lower viscosity fluid, elimination of any
possible chemical gradients and bacterial growth, and strict
verification of leakage, may also be considered.
1.4 The hydraulic conductivity of materials with hydraulic
conductivities greater than 1 3 10−5 m/s may be determined by
Test Method D 2434.
1.5 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the
guide for significant digits and rounding established in Practice
D 6026.
1.5.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected,
recorded, and calculated in this standard are regarded as the
industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the
significant digits that should generally be retained. The procedures used do not consider material variation, purpose for
obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the user’s objectives; and it is common practice to
increase or reduce significant digits of reported data to be
commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope
of this standard to consider significant digits used in analysis
methods for engineering design.
1.6 This standard also contains a Hazards section about
using mercury, see Section 7.
1.7 The time to perform this test depends on such items as
the Method (A, B, C, D, E, or F) used, the initial degree of
saturation of the test specimen and the hydraulic conductivity
of the test specimen. The constant volume Methods (E and F)
and Method D require the shortest period-of-time. Typically a
test can be performed using Methods D, E, or F within two to
1. Scope*
1.1 These test methods cover laboratory measurement of the
hydraulic conductivity (also referred to as coeffıcient of permeability) of water-saturated porous materials with a flexible
wall permeameter at temperatures between about 15 and 30°C
(59 and 86°F). Temperatures outside this range may be used;
however, the user would have to determine the specific gravity
of mercury and RT (see 10.3) at those temperatures using data
from Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. There are six
alternate methods or hydraulic systems that may be used to
measure the hydraulic conductivity. These hydraulic systems
are as follows:
1.1.1 Method A—Constant Head
1.1.2 Method B—Falling Head, constant tailwater elevation
1.1.3 Method C—Falling Head, rising tailwater elevation
1.1.4 Method D—Constant Rate of Flow
1.1.5 Method E—Constant Volume–Constant Head (by
mercury)
1.1.6 Method F—Constant Volume–Falling Head (by mercury), rising tailwater elevation
1.2 These test methods use water as the permeant liquid; see
4.3 and Section 6 on Reagents for water requirements.
1.3 These test methods may be utilized on all specimen
types (undisturbed, reconstituted, remolded, compacted, etc.)
that have a hydraulic conductivity less than about 1 3 10−6 m/s
(1 3 10−4 cm/s), providing the head loss requirements of 5.2.3
are met. For the constant-volume methods, the hydraulic
conductivity typically has to be less than about 1 3 10−7 m/s.
1.3.1 If the hydraulic conductivity is greater than about
1 3 10−6 m/s, but not more than about 1 3 10−5 m/s; then the
size of the hydraulic tubing needs to be increased along with
the porosity of the porous end pieces. Other strategies, such as
using higher viscosity fluid or properly decreasing the crosssectional area of the test specimen, or both, may also be
possible. The key criterion is that the requirements covered in
Section 5 have to be met.
1
This standard is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and
Rock and is the direct responsibility of Subcommittee D18.04 on Hydrologic
Properties of Soil and Rocks.
Current edition approved Nov. 1, 2003. Published January 2004. Originally
approved in 1990. Last previous edition approved in 2000 as D 5084 – 00e1.
2
The boldface numbers in parentheses refer to the list of references appended to
this standard.
*A Summary of Changes section appears at the end of this standard.
Copyright © ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, United States.
1
D 5084 – 03
D 6151 Practice for Using Hollow-Stem Augers for Geotechnical Exploration and Soil Sampling
D 6169 Guide for Selection of Soil and Rock Sampling
Devices Used with Drill Rigs for Environmental Investigations
three days. Methods A, B, and C take a longer period-of-time,
from a few days to a few weeks depending on the hydraulic
conductivity. Typically, about one week is required for hydraulic conductivities on the order of 1 3 10–9 m/s. The testing time
is ultimately controlled by meeting the equilibrium criteria for
each Method (see 9.5).
1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the
standard, unless other units are specifically given. By tradition
in U.S. practice, hydraulic conductivity is reported in centimeters per second, although the common SI units for hydraulic
conductivity is meters per second.