DOI: 10.3390/app14031254 ISSN: 2076-3417

A Simple Model for Estimating the Hydraulic Conductivity of Unsaturated Soil

Ziran Zhang, Maosheng Zhang
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • General Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science

Describing the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soil is very important in predicting water transport. Most current models have complex forms and generally need to be calibrated by the measured unsaturated hydraulic conductivity curve. A simple model, by which it is possible to conveniently predict the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, is proposed in this study. The soil–water characteristic curve and hydraulic conductivity curve are separated into three parts. The soil–water characteristic curve is represented by Fredlund and Xing’s equation. A simple model composed of three lines is proposed for estimating the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soil. The model parameters can be conveniently calibrated from the measured soil–water characteristic curve and saturated hydraulic conductivity. Finally, the proposed model is validated by the experimental data from different soils. The proposed model provides a simple approach to estimating the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soil, which is more convenient for practical application.

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