Determination of Hydraulic Conductivities through Grain-Size Analysis
Alvarado Blohm, Fernando Jose. “Determination of Hydraulic Conductivities through Grain-Size Analysis”, Boston College, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:106982.
Nine empirical equations that estimate saturated hydraulic conductivity as a func- tion of grain size in well-graded sands with gravels having large uniformity coecients (U > 50) are evaluated by comparing their accuracy when predicting observed conduc- tivities in constant head permeability tests. According to the ndings of this thesis, in decreasing order of accuracy these equations are: USBR (Vukovic and Soro, 1992; USBR, 1978), Hazen (Hazen, 1892), Slichter (Slichter, 1898), Kozeny-Carman (Carrier, 2003), Fair and Hatch (Fair and Hatch, 1933), Terzaghi (Vukovic and Soro, 1992), Beyer (Beyer, 1966), Kruger (Vukovic and Soro, 1992), and Zunker (Zunker, 1932). These re- sults are based on multiple constant head permeability tests on two samples of granular material corresponding to well-graded sands with gravels. Using the USBR equation sat- urated hydraulic conductivities for a statistical population of 874 samples of well-graded sands with gravels forming 29 loads from a heap leaching mine in northern Chile are calculated. Results indicate that, using the USBR equation, on average the hydraulic conductivity of the leaching heaps has a two standard deviation range between 0.18 and 0.15 cm/s. Permeability tests on the actual material used in the heaps provided by the mine shows that the results presented in this thesis are consistent with actual observa- tions and represent saturated conductivities in heaps up to 3 m high under a pressures of up to 62 Kpa. In future work hydraulic conductivities can be combined with water retention curves, discharge rates, irrigation rates, porosities, and consolidation so as to evaluate the relationship between copper yields and the hydraulic conductivities of the heap.