A method has been developed to establish steady flow of water in unsaturated soil sample spinning in a centrifuge. Theoretical analysis predicts moisture conditions in the sample that depend strongly on soil type and certain operating parameter. For Oakley sand, measurements of flux, water content, and matric potential during and after centrifugation verify that steady state flow can be achieved. Experiments have confirmed the theoretical prediction of a nearly uniform moisture distribution for this medium and have demonstrated that the flow can be effectively one-dimensional. The method was used for steady state measurements of hydraulic conductivity K for relatively dry soil, giving values at low as 7. 6 multiplied by 10** minus **1**1 m/s with data obtained in a few hours. Darcy's law was tested by measuring K for different centrifugal driving forces but with the same water content.
Additional publication details
Unsaturated flow in a centrifugal fields--Measurement of hydraulic conductivity and testing of Darcy's Law