Air-Based Measurements of Permeability in Pebbly Sands

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We considered small-scale measurement of permeability in pebbly sands having coarser grains supported in a finer grained matrix (fine packing). Our central question was whether air-based measurements are representative if made with a permeameter tip seal pressed in the sand matrix. We created pebbly sands and variably sorted sands, with systematic variation in aspects of their fine packing. We made permeability measurements by inserting the tip seal of an air permeameter in the matrix of these samples and compared them to the permeability of the composite sample determined by both water-based methods and theory. The air-permeameter measurements made in this way represent the permeability of the composite mixtures of coarser and finer grains and allow for the discernment of permeability between samples with different matrix compositions, ranging from fine to coarse sand. Furthermore, the collective results show that permeability differences in the pebbly sands and variably sorted sands with fine packing, however measured, are primarily due to differences in matrix permeability and not due to differences in the size or the percentage of the coarser grains.



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