In this study, a geotechnical centrifuge has been used to study the unsaturated hydraulic properties of rock samples from the chalk aquifer, SE England. This method allows rapid measurement of hydraulic properties in a controlled environment, in contrast to previous studies on the chalk unsaturated zone, which required either an extended period (years) of data monitoring in the field or extended experimental periods (weeks) in the laboratory. Three types of specially built sensors were used to monitor water flow through chalk samples: a water pressure transducer to measure matric potential, frequency domain reflectometry probes to measure the volumetric water content and pressure transducers to measure the volume of water passing through the sample. Chalk samples were tested during wetting and draining processes to understand any hysteresis occurring during periodic recharge of the aquifer. Before undertaking physical tests of chalk samples in the centrifuge, a theoretical model of chalk hydraulic behaviour under centrifugal force was developed. This model was used to define and justify the instrumentation plan of the physical model and predict the shape of the soil moisture characteristic (SMC) curve and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity (Ku) function. The results were then evaluated and compared with the experimental results. These results show that chalk samples can be successfully tested under centrifuge conditions and hydraulic properties can be measured, including soil moisture characteristic curves and hydraulic conductivity.
|Number of pages
|Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
|Published - 15 May 2022