Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

David Dominic (Advisor), Robert Ritzi (Advisor), Cheng Songlin (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


A procedure has been developed for calculating permeability (k) from the Kozeny-Carmen equation, a procedure that links ideas from percolation theory with the ideas of Koltermann and Gorelick (1995) and Esselburn et al. (2011). The approach focuses on the proportion of coarser pores that are occupied by finer sediments and defines a threshold proportion. For proportions below this threshold, the unoccupied coarser pores percolate. Following the ideas of Koltermann and Gorelick (1995), the effective grain-size term in the Kozeny-Carman equation is calculated using the geometric mean if below the threshold proportion, and with the harmonic mean if above. Following ideas of Esselburn et al. (2011), this approach is recursively implemented by considering each grain size category relative to the pore space in the next larger category for mixtures of more than two categories, in order of smallest size to largest. Application of these ideas to sediment models for sands and gravels, which have known k, indicate that a threshold does indeed exist. Results also suggest that the Kozeny-Carmen equation is robust and gives representative values for k, even though the threshold proportion is not precisely known.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Year Degree Awarded