An expression for the permeability of anisotropic granular media

Namunu J. Meegoda, Ian P. King, K. Arulanandan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


There are many expressions proposed for the permeability of isotropic media based on flow channel and pore size distribution concepts, but there are no such expressions for anisotropic media. In this paper an expression for the permeability of an anisotropic medium is proposed, which has been verified in the laboratory. The mechanism behind fluid flow through soil was investigated using microscopic computer simulations to propose an expression for macroscopic permeability. The soil was assumed to be a spatially periodic porous medium, and the Navier‐Stokes equation was solved using the FEM with appropriate boundary conditions for several different arrangements of the porous medium. The basic variables influencing flow through soil at the microscopic level were identified as specific surface area, void ratio, particle shape, material heterogeneity and the arrangement of particles in a porous medium. A sensitivity analysis was carried out to obtain an expression for the permeability in terms of the above variables. The corresponding macroscopic variables for the above microscopic variables are average specific surface area, average void ratio, anisotropy, tortuosity due to material heterogeneity, and the arrangement of particles respectively. An expression for the directional permeability is proposed in terms of these variables for the most common occurrence of particles in a porous medium. For the verification of the proposed equation, the permeability values of a fine‐grained sand were measured at different void ratios and were compared with those predicted by the proposed equation. The results show that the predicted permeability values from the proposed equation are very close to the measured values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-598
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • General Materials Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


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