Date of Graduation

8-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Richard Coffman

Committee Member

Norman Dennis

Second Committee Member

Michelle Bernhardt

Keywords

Hydraulic Conductivity Functions, Soil Water Characteristic Curve, Unsaturated Soil Properties

Abstract

A compacted clay liner (test pad) was constructed and instrumented with volumetric water content and soil matric potential sensors to determine soil water characteristic curves (SWCC) and hydraulic conductivity (k) functions. Specifically, the compacted clay liner was subjected to an infiltration cycle during a sealed double ring infiltrometer (SDRI) test followed by a drying cycle. After the drying cycle, Shelby tube samples were collected from the compacted clay liner and flexible wall permeability (FWP) tests were conducted on sub-samples to determine the saturated hydraulic conductivity. Moreover, two computer programs (RETC and UNSAT-H) were utilized to model the SWCCs and k-functions of the soil based on obtained measurements including the volumetric water content, the soil matric potential, and the saturated hudraulic conductivity (ks).

Results obtained from the RETC program (θs, θr, α, n and ks) were ingested into UNSAT-H program to calculate the movement of water (rate and location) through the compacted clay liner. Although a linear wetting front (location of water infiltration as a function of time) is typically utilized for SDRI calculations, the use of a hyperbolic wetting front is recommended as a hyperbolic wetting front was modeled from the testing results. The suggested shape of the wetting front is associated with utilization of the desorption SWCC instead of the sorption SWCC and with relatively high values of ks (average value of 7.2E-7 cm/sec) were measured in the FWP tests while relatively low values of ks (average value of 1.2E-7 cm/sec) were measured in the SDRI test.

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