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# Hydraulic conductivity

About: Hydraulic conductivity is a research topic. Over the lifetime, 12066 publications have been published within this topic receiving 339713 citations.

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TL;DR: Van Genuchten et al. as mentioned in this paper proposed a closed-form analytical expression for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils based on the Mualem theory, which can be used to predict the unsaturated hydraulic flow and mass transport in unsaturated zone.

Abstract: A new and relatively simple equation for the soil-water content-pressure head curve, 8(h), is described in this paper. The particular form of the equation enables one to derive closedform analytical expressions for the relative hydraulic conductivity, Kr, when substituted in the predictive conductivity models of N.T. Burdine or Y. Mualem. The resulting expressions for Kr(h) contain three independent parameters which may be obtained by fitting the proposed soil-water retention model to experimental data. Results obtained with the closed-form analytical expressions based on the Mualem theory are compared with observed hydraulic conductivity data for five soils with a wide range of hydraulic properties. The unsaturated hydraulic conductivity is predicted well in four out of five cases. It is found that a reasonable description of the soil-water retention curve at low water contents is important for an accurate prediction of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. Additional Index Words: soil-water diffusivity, soil-water retention curve. van Genuchten, M. Th. 1980. A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 44:892-898. T USE OF NUMERICAL MODELS for simulating fluid flow and mass transport in the unsaturated zone has become increasingly popular the last few years. Recent literature indeed demonstrates that much effort is put into the development of such models (Reeves and Duguid, 1975; Segol, 1976; Vauclin et al., 1979). Unfortunately, it appears that the ability to fully characterize the simulated system has not kept pace with the numerical and modeling expertise. Probably the single most important factor limiting the successful application of unsaturated flow theory to actual field problems is the lack of information regarding the parameters entering the governing transfer equations. Reliable estimates of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity are especially difficult to obtain, partly because of its extensive variability in the field, and partly because measuring this parameter is time-consuming and expensive. Several investigators have, for these reasons, used models for calculating the unsaturated conductivity from the more easily measured soil-water retention curve. Very popular among these models has been the Millington-Quirk method (Millington and Quirk, 1961), various forms of which have been applied with some success in a number of studies (cf. Jackson et al., 1965; Jackson, 1972; Green and Corey, 1971; Bruce, 1972). Unfortunately, this method has the disadvantage of producing tabular results which, for example when applied to nonhomogeneous soils in multidimensional unsaturated flow models, are quite tedious to use. Closed-form analytical expressions for predicting 1 Contribution from the U. S. Salinity Laboratory, AR-SEA, USDA, Riverside, CA 92501. Received 29 June 1979. Approved 19 May I960. 'Soil Scientist, Dep. of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521. The author is located at the U. S. Salinity Lab., 4500 Glenwood Dr., Riverside, CA 92502. the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity have also been developed. For example, Brooks and Corey (1964) and Jeppson (1974) each used an analytical expression for the conductivity based on the Burdine theory (Burdine, 1953). Brooks and Corey (1964, 1966) obtained fairly accurate predictions with their equations, even though a discontinuity is present in the slope of both the soil-water retention curve and the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity curve at some negative value of the pressure head (this point is often referred to as the bubbling pressure). Such a discontinuity sometimes prevents rapid convergence in numerical saturated-unsaturated flow problems. It also appears that predictions based on the Brooks and Corey equations are somewhat less accurate than those obtained with various forms of the (modified) Millington-Quirk method. Recently Mualem (1976a) derived a new model for predicting the hydraulic conductivity from knowledge of the soil-water retention curve and the conductivity at saturation. Mualem's derivation leads to a simple integral formula for the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity which enables one to derive closed-form analytical expressions, provided suitable equations for the soil-water retention curves are available. It is the purpose of this paper to derive such expressions using an equation for the soil-water retention curve which is both continuous and has a continuous slope. The resulting conductivity models generally contain three independent parameters which may be obtained by matching the proposed soil-water retention curve to experimental data. Results obtained with the closedform equations based on the Mualem theory will be compared with observed data for a few soils having widely varying hydraulic properties. THEORETICAL Equations Based on Mualem's Model The following equation was derived by Mualem (1976a) for predicting the relative hydraulic conductivity (Kr) from knowledge of the soil-water retention curve

22,781 citations

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TL;DR: In this article, a simple analytic model is proposed which predicts the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity curves by using the moisture content-capillary head curve and the measured value of the hydraulic conductivities at saturation.

Abstract: A simple analytic model is proposed which predicts the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity curves by using the moisture content-capillary head curve and the measured value of the hydraulic conductivity at saturation. It is similar to the Childs and Collis-George (1950) model but uses a modified assumption concerning the hydraulic conductivity of the pore sequence in order to take into account the effect of the larger pore section. A computational method is derived for the determination of the residual water content and for the extrapolation of the water content-capillary head curve as measured in a limited range. The proposed model is compared with the existing practical models of Averjanov (1950), Wyllie and Gardner (1958), and Millington and Quirk (1961) on the basis of the measured data of 45 soils. It seems that the new model is in better agreement with observations.

6,529 citations

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TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe a computer program, rosetta, which implements five hierarchical pedotransfer functions (PTFs) for the estimation of water retention, and the saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity.

2,222 citations

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TL;DR: In this paper, a method is presented for developing probability density functions for parameters of soil moisture relationships of capillary head [h(θ)] and hydraulic conductivity [K(α), which are required for the assessment of water flow and solute transport in unsaturated media.

Abstract: A method is presented for developing probability density functions for parameters of soil moisture relationships of capillary head [h(θ)] and hydraulic conductivity [K(θ)]. These soil moisture parameters are required for the assessment of water flow and solute transport in unsaturated media. The method employs a statistical multiple regression equation proposed in the literature for estimating [h(θ)] or [K(θ)] relationships using the soil saturated water content and the percentages of sand and clay. In the absence of known statistical distributions for either [h(θ)] or [K(θ)] relationships, the method facilitates modeling by providing variability estimates that can be used to examine the uncertainty associated with water flow or solute transport in unsaturated media.

2,050 citations

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01 Jan 1986TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe several laboratory methods of determining the hydraulic conductivity and hydraulic diffusivity of a soil water flow system to a set of applied boundary conditions, including bulk movement, under isothermal conditions, of the liquid phase in response to mechanical driving forces.

Abstract: This chapter describes several laboratory methods of determining the hydraulic conductivity and hydraulic diffusivity. Water moves through soil in response to various forces acting upon it. The chemical species water may be transported due to bulk movement of the liquid phase or soil solution, or it may be transported by diffusion relative to the mean motion of the liquid phase. The chapter deals with bulk movement, under isothermal conditions, of the liquid phase in response to mechanical driving forces. However, the transport of water in the gas phase by vapor diffusion will be included in the measured hydraulic conductivity and diffusivity, especially at low water contents. The concept of parameter identification has been applied to the determination of the parameters in the hydraulic conductivity and water retention functions. The method involves the measurement of some aspect of the response of a soil water flow system to a set of applied boundary conditions.

1,750 citations