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The following is a general description of the test. There are several variations and
interpretations of the Lugeon test. Readers are encouraged to consult the supporting
materials in the References section. A more thorough description of the field procedure can
be found in ISO 22282-3. (Geotechnical investigation and testing -- Geohydraulic testing -- Part
3: Water Pressure Tests in Rock)

Based on the drill core, an assessment of the expected injection rates and pressure can be
made. The tester will need to have an idea of the pressures to be tested. The expected
pressure range will be based on the estimated permeability of the rock and the expected
intake of injected water. These will have to be assessed based on previous experience in the
borehole(s), and correlated to the pumping equipment available. A maximum test pressure
(Pmax) is defined so that it does not exceed the in-situ minimum stress, thus avoiding
hydraulic fracturing.

The following figure shows a typical field setup:

Scenario 1: Deployment using Borehole Transducer to measure pressure data.

Scenario 2: Deployment using pressure data measured in a Pressure Gauge station. For this
scenario, you must provide the "Gauge Position" in the Lugeon Test tab in AquiferTest
The test is typically conducted in five steps (or stages). At each step, a constant water
pressure is applied for a duration of 10 minutes (or until steady state flows are measured).
Readings of water pressure and flow rate are measured every minute. Flow readings may be
recorded as Flux or Volume, and this will depend on the meter type that is being used. This
setting is defined in the Lugeon Test tab, under "Flow Meter Type".

The first step typically uses a low water pressure. For the second step, the pressure is
increased and flow readings are again recorded for 10 minutes (or until steady-state
conditions are achieved). This is repeated for subsequent steps until reaching Pmax. Once
Pmax is reached, pressures are then decreased for subsequent steps following the same
pressures used on the way up, thus describing a pressure loop. (For example, Step 1
Pressure = Step 5 Pressure; Step 2 Pressure = Step 4 Pressure). The table below shows a
description of this concept along with example pressure factors typically used during the five
test steps.

Step Description Pressure Pressure

Factor (PSI)
1 Low 0.50 * Pmax 40
2 Med 0.75 * Pmax 60
3 P max Pmax 80
4 Med 0.75 * Pmax 60
5 Low 0.50 * Pmax 40

In some cases, the test may involve only 3 pressure steps, in which case Pmax is at step 2
and the step 1 pressure should equal the step 3 pressure.
The Gauge Pressures and recorded Flow Meter Readings are entered into the Lugeon Test
Data & Analysis tab as shown below.

From the recorded data, AquiferTest calculates the Average Flow Reading, the Hydraulic
Conductivity, and Lugeon value (all values in the yellow cells shown above). These values are
used in the analysis diagrams shown at the bottom of the Lugeon Test Data & Analysis tab.
Once a Lugeon value has been computed for each of the five steps, a representative value of
hydraulic conductivity can selected based on the trend observed throughout the test. For
more details, see the Analysis and Interpretation sections below.

The test is typically conducted along several vertical intervals in a single borehole. After the
test is complete, the packers are deflated, then moved into the new position in the borehole,
re-inflated and the test procedure is repeated as described above. In AquiferTest, a single
borehole can have multiple Lugeon Tests at various intervals. Use the "Duplicate Test" option,
to create a copy of the current Lugeon Test. Then change the test interval geometry, and enter
the new test data. A summary of interpretations from multiple tests is included in the reports


The equation to calculate the conductivity is:

K = hydraulic conductivity

Q = injection rate

Ro = Radius of influence (L is typically used in this scenario)

R = Radius of the borehole

H = net injection head

L = length of test section


The Lugeon Value is calculated as follows:


Q = injection rate

L = length of test section

Po = reference pressure of 1 MPa (equivalent to 10 bar or 145 psi)

P = net injection pressure (at the specific step)

The conversion of pressure (P) into injection head (H) is calculated as follows:


g = acceleration due to gravity, default value 9.81 m/s

p = density of water, default value 999.7 kg / m

These constants may be adjusted in the Tools / Options, Constants tab.

Under ideal conditions (i.e., homogeneous and isotropic) one Lugeon is equivalent to 1.3 x 10 -

cm/sec (Fell et al., 2005).

The following data are required for conducting a Lugeon Test Analysis in AquiferTest

Borehole Geometry (defined in the Lugeon Test tab)

Pressure Reading Type: Borehole Transducer or Surface Gauge
Top of Test Interval (measured as a depth from the ground surface)
Bottom of Test Interval (measured as a depth from the ground surface)
Depth to GW (groundwater); if this is not known, it is generally recommended to enter the
center of the test interval as a default.
Radius of Test Section: can be explicitly defined or use the Borehole radius (B) value
defined for the Test bore
Radius of Influence; generally this assumed to be the same as the length of the test interval,
however it can be overridden with another value (note the assumptions of the Radius of
Influence as explained below).
Flow Meter type: flow readings can be recorded and entered as flux or volume

Test Data (defined in the Lugeon Test Data & Analysis tab)
# of Pressure Steps
# of Flow Readings
Recorded Gauge Pressure for each step
Flow meter reading for each step (recorded as either Flux or Volume, as determined by the
specified "Flow Meter Type" in the Lugeon Test tab)

Data Analysis

In order to simplify the interpretation of the results, AquiferTest provides a set of diagnostic
plots representing typical flow behaviours that can be encountered in fractured rock.
AquiferTest includes the typical Lugeon diagrams as proposed by Houlsby (1976), and also
includes the additional typical curves for flow loss vs. pressure space, as described by
Quiones-Rozo (2010).

Pressure Diagram

The Gauge Pressure data are read from the grid and plotted on a simple Pressure vs. Step
diagram as shown below

Lugeon Diagram

For each step, the Lugeon value is calculated using the equations described above and
plotted on a simple bar chart as shown below.
The trends from the Lugeon Diagram can be compared to the diagnostic plots as described
below to identify typical behaviour and choose a suitable Lugeon value.

Flow vs. Pressure Diagram

It is also possible to analyze the Lugeon test results using the flow loss vs. pressure space,
with flow loss defined as the flow rate divided by the length of the test interval (Q/L). For each
step, the Average Flow Rate is calculated from the defined readings and displayed in the table
(in the column after the last flow reading). The Gauge Pressure and Average Flow Rate for
each step are then plot on the "Flow vs Pressure" diagram as shown below.

Each orange point corresponds to one step, consisting of an average flow reading at a given
pressure. A line is drawn starting at the origin and connecting each data point in sequence of
the order of the steps (with the directional arrows corresponding to the sequence of the
steps), thus forming the pressure loop. The slope of each line segment is indicative of the
Lugeon value as the test proceeds. A shallow slope corresponds to a low Lugeon value, a
steep slope corresponds to high Lugeon value. This interpretation technique makes it useful
to do real-time monitoring and interpretation of the test data in the field. The shape of these
curves can be compared to the diagnostic plots as explained below.

Lugeon Test Interpretation

The following table summarizes the typical flow behaviours and corresponding diagnostic
Lugeon Pattern and Representative Lugeon Value (based on Houlsby (1976) and Flow vs.
Pressure Patterns based on Quiones-Rozo, (2010).
vs. Representati
Behavio n
Pressur ve Lugeon
ur Patter
e Value
Average of
Laminar Lugeon
Flow values for all
Lugeon value
Turbulen g to the
t Flow highest water
pressure (3rd
Dilation Lowest
Lugeon value
g either to
low or
(1st,2nd, 4th,
5th step)
Wash- Lugeon value
out recorded
(5th step)
Final Lugeon
(5th step)
Typical Lugeon Behaviours

Based on Houlsby (1976)

Laminar Flow: The hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass is independent of the water
pressure employed. This behavior is characteristic of rock masses with low hydraulic
conductivities, where seepage velocities are relatively small (i.e., less than four Lugeons).
Turbulent Flow: The hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass decreases as the water
pressure increases. This behavior is characteristic of rock masses exhibiting partly open to
moderately wide cracks.
Dilation: Similar hydraulic conductivities are observed at low and medium pressures;
however, a much greater value is recorded at the maximum pressure. This behavior which
is sometimes also observed at medium pressures occurs when the water pressure applied
is greater than the minimum principal stress of the rock mass, thus causing a temporary
dilatancy (hydro-jacking) of the fissures within the rock mass. Dilatancy causes an increase
in the cross sectional area available for water to flow, and thereby increases the hydraulic
Wash-Out: Hydraulic conductivities increase as the test proceeds, regardless of the changes
observed in water pressure. This behavior indicates that seepage induces permanent and
irrecoverable damage on the rock mass, usually due to infillings wash out and/or permanent
rock movements.
Void Filling: Hydraulic conductivities decrease as the test proceeds, regardless of the
changes observed in water pressure. This behavior indicates that either: (1) water
progressively fills isolated/non-persistent discontinuities, (2) swelling occurs in the
discontinuities, or (3) fines flow slowly into the discontinuities building up a cake layer that
clogs them.

In AquiferTest, when you click on the icon that corresponds to the observed behaviour, the
program will determine which is the appropriate Representative Lugeon value from the
calculated values, and place this in the "Interpretations" box.

The following table describes the conditions typically associated with different Lugeon
Values, as well as the typical precision for reporting these values (Quiones-Rozo, 2010).
Example Interpretation

The following is an example of a Lugeon Test interpretation with 5 pressure steps. The image
below is from the "Lugeon Test Data & Analysis" tab in AquiferTest.
Once the data have been entered, AquiferTest will automatically calculate the Average Flow
Rate, Hydraulic Conductivity, Lugeon value, and plot all of this data in the diagrams at the
bottom of the window. The interpretation involves assessing the trend of the bar charts in
the Lugeon Diagram, and both the shape and direction of the pressure loop in the Flow vs.
Pressure diagram.

In this example, the trend of data in the Lugeon Diagram indicates conditions of Wash-Out.
The shape of the Flow vs. Pressure diagram also indicates Wash-Out behaviour. The shape of
the flow vs. pressure diagram for Wash Out is similar to Void Filling, however the directional
arrows of the pressure loop are in opposite directions. If you click on the "Wash-Out" icon
below the main diagrams (for either the Lugeon Diagram or the Flow vs. Pressure Diagram),
AquiferTest will retrieve the Representative Lugeon value recommended in the summary table
above, and place this into the "Test Result Interpretation" section. In the case for Wash-Out
behaviour, it is recommended to use the highest Lugeon value (5th step), which corresponds
to a Lugeon value of 7.5, and you will see this value defined in the Interpretations text box.
Often the test may exhibit multiple behaviours. For this reason, the "Test Results
Interpretation" text box is fully-editable, where you can type in any other comments or Lugeon
value that you wish to see appear in the final report.


The Lugeon test, sometimes call also Packer test, is an in-situ testing method widely used to
estimate the avarage hydraulic conductivity of rock mass. It is indeed In situ test of formation
permeability performed by measuring the volume of water taken in a section of test hole when the
interval is pressurized at given pressure (10 bars -150 psi). It is used primarily in variably
permeable formations under evaluation of fracturating .

The test is named after Maurice Lugeon (1933), a Swiss geologist who first formulated the test.
Basically, the Lugeon test is a costant head permeability type test carried out in a isolated part of
a borehole. The results provide information about hzdraulic condictivuty of the rock mass
including the rock matrix and the discontinuities.


The test is conducted in a portion of a borehole isolated by pneumatic packers. The water is
injected into the isolated portion of the borehole using a slotted pipe which it self is bounded by
the inflated packers. The packers can be inflated using a gas compressor on the surafce, and so
they can isolate and seal that portion of the borehole. A pressure transducer is also located in that
portion to measure the pressure with a help of reading station on the surface.

First of all, a maximum test pressure (Pmax) is defined so that it does not exceed the in-situ
minimum stress, thus avoiding hzdraulic fracturing. The test is carried out at five stages including
increasing and decreasing pressure between zero and maximum pressure. At each stage, a
constant pressure is applied for an interval of 10 miniutes while pumping water. Water pressure
and flow rate are measured everz minute. The five loading and unloading stages form a pressure
loop often with the following pressure intervals:

Stage Pressure
1st 0.50 Pmax
2nd 0.75 Pmax
3rd Pmax
4th 0.75 Pmax
5th 0.50 Pmax

Using the average values of water presure and flow rate measured at each stage, the average
hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass can be determined. Following the empiricl original
definition of the test, the hzdraulic conductiviy is experessed in terms of Lugeon Unit, being the
conductivity required for a flow aret of 1 liter per minute per meter of the borehole interval under a
constant pressure of 1 MPa. The Lugeon value for each test is therefore calculated as follows and
then an average representative value is selected for the tested rock mass.

Lugeon Value = (q / L) x (P0 / P)


q - flow rate [lit/min]

L - Length of the borehole test interval [m]
P0 - reference pressure of 1 MPa [MPa]
P - Test pressure [MPa]

Considering a homogenous and isotropic condition, one Lugeon will be equal to 1.3e-
7m/s. Contrary to the continuum media, the hzdraulic conductivity of the rock mass is very much
influenced by the rock discontinuities. Therefore, the Lugeon value could represent not only the
conductivity but also the rock jointing condition. Typical range of Lugeon values and the
corresponding rock condition is indicated in th etable below [1]

Lugeon Value Conductivity classification Rock discontinuity condition

<1 Very low Very tight

1-5 Low Tight

5-15 Moderate Few partly open
15-50 Medium Some open
50-100 High Many open
>100 Very high Open closely spaced or voids


o French Standard NF P 94-131 (1994) Essais d'eau Lugeon


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