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Case Studies in Construction Materials 7 (2017) 317–328

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Case Studies in Construction Materials


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Short communication

Comparison between the falling head and the constant head


T
permeability tests to assess the permeability coefficient of
sustainable Pervious Concretes

Gersson F.B. Sandovala, , Isaac Galobardesb, Raquel S. Teixeiraa,

Berenice M. Torallesa,
a
Department of Civil Construction, State University of Londrina, Celso Garcia Road, Pr 445, Km 380, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil
b
Department of Civil Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, 111 Ren’ai Road, 215123 Suzhou, China

AR TI CLE I NF O AB S T R A CT

Keywords: The use of Pervious Concrete (PC) increased in the last years as an alternative to solve the run-off
Pervious Concrete problem. PC shows a high percentage of empty spaces/gaps, which vary from 10 to 35%, facil-
Permeability itating the flow of rain and water through its structure. PC presents higher k permeability
Porosity coefficient compared to conventional concrete. Permeability is the main property of PC, although
Falling head permeability test
there is no standardized method that guarantees the correct and precise measurement of such
Constant head permeability test
property in laboratory conditions. Currently, two main methodologies are used to assess the
permeability coefficient: the falling head and the constant head permeability tests. In that regard,
the American Concrete Institute recommends the use of the first method, although no comparison
was done between them. Furthermore, the recommendations do not consider the use of sus-
tainable aggregates during the production of the PC. In this study, the permeability tests were
explained and used to assess the permeability coefficient of different mixes of PC produced with
sustainable aggregates. The experimental results were used to analyze the relationship between
the porosity and the permeability of concrete and compare the performance of the falling head
and constant head permeability tests. The study presents the advantages of performing the
constant head permeability test to assess the permeability of the PC.

1. Introduction

Floods have devastating consequences and effects on the economy, environment, and people in many regions of the world. In
2004, intense rains caused 414 deaths and potable water supply problems in the Dominican Republican. In Brazil, in January 2011,
rainfalls reached 95% of the expected for that month in Rio de Janeiro, collapsing the city’s traffic due to an inefficient drainage
system, which was unable to deal with precipitations of this nature. In 2011, in Haiti, more than 1600 people disappeared and 900
died due to floods [1–4].
Floods are caused by environmental factors, such as the current climate change and the lack of drainage systems that, many times,
are not sufficient to deal with above average precipitation events [4]. In that sense, developing countries like Colombia are investing
billions of dollars in infrastructure to improve their drainage systems and, therefore, prevent disasters caused by climate changes [5].
These problems are magnified in cities. Floods and rainwater management issues are caused by waterproof areas that hold the


Corresponding authors.
E-mail address: gersson.barreto@gmail.com (G.F.B. Sandoval).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cscm.2017.09.001
Received 17 May 2017; Received in revised form 28 August 2017; Accepted 27 September 2017
Available online 28 September 2017
2214-5095/ © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY-NC-ND/4.0/).
G.F.B. Sandoval et al. Case Studies in Construction Materials 7 (2017) 317–328

water on the surface of the streets, impeding their normal functioning and becoming an imminent risk to the population. Currently,
most of the materials used in construction present low permeability [6]. The use of these materials in the cities change the hydro-
logical cycle in a radical way, as rainwater stops infiltrating in the soil and becomes run-off. In response to that, researchers are
focused on searching for new materials that allow the passage of the water through their structure without altering their mechanical
properties, guaranteeing fast water absorption. In that sense, Pervious Concrete (PC) is among these materials [7].
PC is a special concrete that presents high porosity, providing great drainage capacity and thus the ability to reduce the flow of
rainwater present on the surface of the material [8]. PC may be the answer to problems caused by floods in cities, but it still needs
further and more in-depth studies. In that sense, there is a lack of standardization, even though the American Institute of Concrete
(ACI) presented a recommendation to the use of PC in civil construction: ACI 522R-10 [9].
Regarding the use of PC, its permeability is one of the most important properties that have to be considered in a project.
Considering the recent scientific literature, to assess this characteristic, two tests can be performed: the falling head permeability test
[10] and the constant head test [11], which are performed in a laboratory, and the test described by the American Standards ASTM
C1701 and the NCAT permeameter method [12], which is performed in situ. Regarding the ones used in the laboratory, the tests
reach very different coefficients as demonstrated by many authors [9,13,14]. However, the ACI recommends both tests, it is clear that
there is no standard to determine permeability in PC in the laboratory [15]. Notice that, the permeability of concrete is related to its
porosity. The higher the number of interconnected voids within the concrete, the higher its permeability coefficient will be
[6,13,16,17]. Apart from that, this coefficient may be affected by the presence of the aggregates used to produce the concrete
[16,18]. In that regard, the ACI recommendation only considers conventional aggregates and therefore, new studies are required to
understand how the permeability of concrete is affected when using sustainable aggregates from construction and industrial waste.
The present study aims to compare the laboratory tests used to assess the permeability, the falling head, and the constant head
tests, regarding the use of sustainable aggregates. To fulfill this objective, the porosity and the permeability of four PC produced with
a conventional basalt aggregate and three sustainable aggregates (blast furnace slag, ceramic waste and recycled concrete aggregates)
are assessed. The experimental results are used to statistically compare the differences between the tests considered.

2. Methodology

2.1. Materials

The materials used in this study to produce sustainable PC were cement, water, and aggregates. Regarding the first, a Portland
cement CP II-F-32 (Brazilian denomination [19]) was used. Notice that this cement was chosen due to the current environmental
tendency of reduction of the amount of clinker. In that sense, it presents a 6–10% of limestone filler addition [20]. Potable water was
used in the production of mixes. Finally, four types of aggregates were selected: basalt, blast furnace slag (BFS), ceramic waste (CW)
and recycled concrete aggregates (RCA). A sample of each type of aggregate is shown in Fig. 1. It is important to remark that the use
of BFS, CW, and RCA in construction entails important environmental advantages [5] and basalt is a common aggregate considered as
a reference in this project.
Fig. 2 presents the grading curves of the aggregates. The maximum aggregate size was 9.5 mm for all of them. Notice that this is
the minimum value recommended by the ACI [9] to produce PC. The grading curves show a uniform grading for all the aggregates. In
that sense, the uniformity coefficients (Cu) of Basalt, BFS, CW, and RCA are equal to 2.20, 1.80, 2.16 and 1.86, respectively. These
values are close; hence, the difference of the aggregate grading distributions is considered not significant [21].
Furthermore, the content of the powdery material and the water absorption of the aggregates were assessed following the re-
quirements of the Brazilian standards NBR NM 46/2003 [22] and NBR NM 53/2003 [23], respectively. Notice that these two
properties are important to adjust the additional water during the production process to maintain equal water/cement ratios for all
mixes [24]. The results obtained are presented in Table 1. This shows how the powdery material and the water absorption are related,
since the higher is the former, the higher is the latter. The highest values were obtained for CW and RCA, and the lowest by BSF, as
expected [8,18].

2.2. Mix design

All samples were produced with 1367 kg of aggregates, 420 kg of cement and a water/cement ratio (w/c) equal to 0.34 (water
content equal to 143 kg). These proportions were established considering the ACI recommendations [9]. Notice that an addition of
mixing water was included taking into account the water absorption of each aggregate (Table 1). Table 2 presents the adjustment in
terms of water addition (water content + water absorption). In that context, the water absorption in liters (l) was calculated using the
percentage of water absorption and considering the mass of aggregates. Hence, the effective water/cement ratio was the same for all
mixes [24].

2.3. Production process

The concretes were mixed for a total time of 5 min and then the specimens were cast using cylinder molds (100ϕ × 200 mm). The
mixtures were compacted using a flow table, with 20 blows/layer with a total of 2 layers [5]. Then, the specimens were demoulded at
age 24 h and kept in a curing room up to 28 days. A total of 84 specimens were produced in this project.

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Fig. 1. Aggregates used: a) Basalt b) BFS c) CW and d) RCA.

Fig. 2. Basalt, BFS, CW and RCA grading curves.

2.4. Test methods

The porosity and the permeability coefficient were the properties evaluated in this study. Porosity was measured because it is
directly related to the permeability, as the higher, the number of pores, a more permeable concrete is obtained. In that sense, the
permeability of the PC was evaluated using both the falling head permeability test and the constant head test. All methods used in this
experimental program are explained below.

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Table 1
Aggregates characterization.

Type of aggregate Pulverulent Material (%) Water Absorption (%)

Basalt 4.2 1.2


BFS 0.0 0.5
CW 5.5 10.2
RCA 4.5 6.1

Table 2
Mixing water adjustment.

Type of aggregate Water absorption (l) Water addition (l)

Basalt 16.4 159


BFS 6.7 150
CW 139.0 282
RCA 83.8 227

2.4.1. Porosity test (p)


The standard ASTM C1754 [25] is used to determine the porosity of PC in the laboratory, however, a methodology from former
investigations was used [13,26] to facilitate the assessment of the parameter, considering the facilities of the laboratory where the
experimental program took place. This method consists on saturating all the gaps of a sample with water to correlate the porosity
with the total water volume used. With that aim, the lateral faces of the samples are covered with PVC film and the specimen is
introduced into a cylindrical metallic mold to guarantee that the PVC film will not go under any deformation. Finally, both the mold
and the sample within it are placed on a scale and water is introduced to fill the PC gaps. Considering the difference in weight, the
volume of water is obtained. Fig. 3 shows the steps followed to assess the volume of water needed to fill all the sample gaps. Then,
knowing the volume of water (Vw) and the volume of the sample (Vs) the porosity was calculated using Eq. (1).

Vw
p= ·100
Vs (1)

The methodology followed recommend performing the test on a minimum of three samples to assess the porosity of the PC [9,27].
In this study, five samples were tested at age 28 days, fulfilling the requirements of the method.

2.4.2. Falling head permeability test (kf)


In this study, the falling head permeability test is based on an adaptation of the Brazilian standard NBR 14545/2000 to assess the
permeability coefficient of clay soils [28]. Notice that, the apparatus described by the American Standard ACI 522R-10 [9] was not
used since the one described in the Brazilian standard fulfils the principles and study the same variables. Fig. 4 presents a schematic
view of the methodology. The test measures the time (t) that a water column with height h1 takes to go through a PC sample. The
time starts when the technician opens a valve located on the bottom of the equipment and finalizes when h2 is reached.
The assembly of the falling head permeability test is shown in Fig. 5. In steps 1 and 2, the equipment used to perform the test is
assembled. This consists of three metallic bars and one metallic cylinder (150ϕ × 150 mm) placed between them. In step 3, a
geotextile is placed on the bottom of the equipment to prevent the clogging of the valve. A granular material with larger particle size
than the one of the specimen is placed in step 4. In step 5 and 6, another geotextile and a rubber ring are placed over the aggregates to
avoid filtration of materials. In step 7, the specimen is placed in the center of the metallic cylinder and bentonite clay is placed around
it to make the water go exclusively through the sample. Then, another rubber ring and a geotextile are placed to fixate the specimen
and bentonite in steps 8 and 9. And finally, in step 10, more big-sized aggregates are placed.
Once the assembly of the sample is finished, the system is saturated. After that, a tube with a diameter of a is connected to the top
of the system with a water column with a height equal to h1. The specimen needs to be filled with water for at least 7 days to ensure
that the bentonite is saturated and the test really measures the water passing through the PC [28]. After that, the test can be started
and t is measured. The permeability coefficient (kf) is calculated using Eq. (2) considering the height (l) and cross section (A) of the
sample, the cross section of the tube (a) and the initial and final heights (h1 and h2, respectively). A total of 8 samples of each PC was
tested at age 28 days, considering an h1 and h2 of 80 and 25 cm, respectively.

a·l h1
kf = ln
A·t h2 (2)

It is important to emphasize that the falling head permeability test uses an existing permeability equipment that limited the size of
the specimen. Furthermore, the assembly of the test has to be done meticulously in order to avoid the filling of the voids with the
bentonite. Finally, before starting the tests, the sample has to be completely saturated, and then a wait of at least 7 days should
happen before beginning to gather the experimental data.

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Fig. 3. Porosity test: a) sample; b) sample covered by PVC film; c) saturated sample in the mold and d) weighing.

2.4.3. Constant head permeability test (kc)


The Constant head permeability test follows the principle of Darcy’s Law [29] and therefore, it is recommended by the ACI [9]. In
that regard, the test measures the amount of water that goes through a sample in a determined time. The applied test is an adaptation
of the one suggested by several authors, always respecting the constant head [30]. A schematic view of the test is shown in Fig. 6. This
presents the cylindrical sample of PC with sample section and height equals to A and L, respectively, and the water volume through
the sample (q). In Fig. 6, h shows the sum of the sample and the water column heights.
In order to perform the test, the procedure shown in Fig. 7 was followed. First of all, samples were laterally wrapped in PVC film
and covered with conventional scotch tape. Besides, a silver tape (polyethylene film strengthened with cotton-laminated fabric) was
used to cover the sample to guarantee impermeability. Then, the specimen was placed between two PVC pipes with a diameter of
10.16 cm (4 inches). The water used to keep the constant level came from a hose placed on the top of the PVC pipe. Notice that the
superior pipe had an overflow drain to guarantee the required level of water during the test.
During the test, the time (t) the water column needs to go through the sample is measured. Then, the permeability coefficient (kc)
can be calculated using Eq. (3). In this project h was constant for all tests, being equal to 520 mm.

q·L
kc =
A·h·t (3)

A total of 8 samples for each PC was used to perform the constant head permeability test at age 28 days. The same number of
samples than the one regarded as the falling head permeability test was considered. It is important to notice that the assembly of the
constant head permeability test is easier and faster than the one of the falling head permeability test and, besides, experimental data
can be gathered more quickly, since the samples do not have to be previously saturated.

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Fig. 4. Falling head permeability test scheme.

Fig. 5. Permeability sample test assembly and sketch of the test [28].

3. Experimental results

3.1. Porosity test

Table 3 presents the results obtained from the porosity test. The table shows five porosity determinations (p), their average value,
their standard deviation (StdDev) and the coefficient of variation (CV) for each type of concrete.

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Fig. 6. Constant head permeability test scheme [5].

Fig. 7. Constant head permeability test assembly: a) specimen covered with PVC film; b) specimen between two PVC pipes; c) specimen covered with conventional
tape, d) specimen covered with silver tape and e) finished assembly.

The results show that the porosity of the mixes studied is between 19% and 27%. Regarding the literature, these values were
expected since PC may present porosity values between 10% and 35% [6,31–33]. CW presented the highest value of porosity
(27.06%), whereas the basalt presented the lowest (19.26%). It is important to notice that the sustainable aggregates (BFS, CW, and
RCA) presented at least 4.16% higher porosity than the basalt one.
These results can be explained considering three different parameters: shape and nature of the aggregates. Regarding the shape,
Basalt shows the lowest percentage of voids because the compaction process facilitated the rearrangement of the grains, which
presented laminar shapes. On the other hand, BFS has a cubic shape and the particles are uniform, favoring a higher porosity. Finally,

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Table 3
Porosity test results (%).

Type of aggregate Basalt BFS CW RCA

p 19.1 25.2 27.7 24.5


19.4 23.9 28.7 23.9
19.7 23.9 25.8 23.6
18.8 26.1 26.1 21.7
19.7 24.2 26.0 23.6

Average 19.3 24.8 27.1 23.4


StdDev 0.42 0.97 1.27 1.07
CV (%) 2.13 4.38 5.00 5.27

CW and RCA were highly porous aggregates with a rounded shape, making the compaction process difficult and entailing higher
porosity. On the other hand, considering the nature of the aggregates, the sustainable aggregates (recycled aggregates) present a
higher porosity compared with the industrial ones. This is due to the heterogeneity presented by the sustainable aggregate as ob-
served by other researchers [17,18].
Finally, regarding the variation of the results, Basalt present the lowest values (2.13%). This is due to the production process of
the aggregates that leads to having a uniform distribution of sizes. On the other hand, the variation of BSF, CW, and RCA are higher
due to the lack of standardization of their commercial sizes.

3.2. Falling head permeability test

The results obtained from the falling head permeability test are presented in Table 4. The permeability values (kf), their average,
their StdDev and the CV are shown for the four types of PCs.On the falling head permeability test, the permeability coefficients varied
from 1.39 to 1.97 mm/s. These values comply with the ACI recommendations. The highest permeability coefficient obtained was the
CW with 1.97 mm/s and the lowest was provided by basalt with 1.39 mm/s. These results are directly related to the porosity. As
expected, the higher the porosity of the PC, the higher the permeability coefficient is [6,17,18].
The coefficient of variation presented by the results of this test is high, independently of the aggregate used to produce the PC.
First, this is due to the lower values of permeability coefficient obtained by this test, matching what was verified by other researchers
[34]. A slight variation in the experimental results entails large CV values. These high variations can be explained since a turbulent
flow was created inside the internal pores of the concrete, slowing the water flow and therefore affecting the results. When the
conduits are rough, this phenomenon can be anticipated by forming a persistent turbulence, this fact can cause decreases in the
velocity of the flow, that otherwise in a laminar flow would remain constant [35,36]. Then in the case of the present study, tests with
different water columns heights may preset a non-constant velocity, and therefore, leading to present a turbulent flow.

3.3. Constant head permeability test

Table 5 presents the results obtained from the constant head permeability test. The table shows eight permeability values (kc),
their average, their StdDev and the CV for each type of concrete.
The results obtained by the constant head permeability test follow the same tendency observed by the ones of the falling head
permeability test, although they present higher values. The permeability coefficients varied between 4.97 and 15.08 mm/s, being the
basalt and the CW, the lowest and highest results, respectively. Furthermore, the results presented the same tendency that the one
presented by the porosity results, demonstrating the relationship between these two parameters.

Table 4
Falling head permeability test results (mm/s).

Type of aggregate Basalt BFS CW RCA

kf 0.64 0.67 0.73 0.75


3.21 3.05 3.70 2.65
0.60 0.74 0.75 0.74
1.98 3.27 3.46 2.75
0.61 0.78 0.73 0.80
1.70 3.51 3.27 3.26
0.65 0.72 0.75 0.73
2.44 3.36 3.59 3.28
0.64 0.67 0.73 0.75

Average 1.39 1.86 1.97 1.74


StdDev 0.98 1.37 1.46 1.19
CV (%) 70.9 73.4 74.4 68.4

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Table 5
Constant head permeability test results (mm/s).

Type of aggregate Basalt BFS CW RCA

kc 4.31 11.7 15.1 10.5


4.47 11.4 15.1 10.4
4.60 11.4 15.1 10.2
4.42 11.4 15.1 10.5
5.35 11.4 14.9 9.52
5.31 9.28 15.1 9.62
5.33 9.37 15.3 9.77
5.41 9.31 15.1 9.68
5.50 9.36 15.0 8.97

Average 4.97 10.5 15.1 9.90


StdDev 0.50 1.14 0.12 0.52
CV (%) 10.0 10.8 0.79 5.25

Regarding the CV of the results, these are lower than the ones presented in the falling head permeability test. This happened due
to two main reasons. Firstly, the values of the permeability coefficient are higher, entailing a lower CV in the case of a small
dispersion of the results. Secondly, during the falling head permeability test the height of the load varies leading to a variation of the
speed. This variation may cause a change of flow (laminar-turbulent) in the interconnected pores, increasing the loss of load and
decreasing the speed of exit of the water [35–37]. The results obtained agrees with the literature review since constant head per-
meability test normally presents higher results than the falling head permeability test [34,36].

4. Analysis of experimental results

In this section, the analysis of the experimental results is presented. Firstly, the relationship between porosity and permeability is
shown and discussed. Then, the representative number of samples to perform the porosity test and the permeability tests are pre-
sented. Subsequently, a comparison between the falling head permeability test and the constant head permeability test are given.
Finally, an equation to correlate the results obtained with both tests is presented.

4.1. Relationship porosity – permeability

Table 6 summarizes the porosity (p) and permeability (kf and kc, respectively) results obtained for the PCs produced with basalt,
BFS, CW, and RCA, respectively. This presents the average values obtained, their StdDev and their CV.
Using these results, the pairs of values porosity-permeability coefficient were plotted. Fig. 8 presents the relationships between the
porosity and the results obtained performing the falling head permeability test (kf) and the constant head permeability test (kc). The
graph shows the values of R2 and the equations of these relations (Eqs. (4) and (5), respectively). Notice that the equations presented
consider the unlikely case of 0% porosity – 0 mm/s permeability.
kf = 0.0003·p3.29 (4)

kc = 0.0591·p1.09 (5)
This figure shows the tendencies of the two tests performed. Regarding the R2 values (equal to 0.98), both tendencies present good
fit with the equations proposed. These are potential for both tests in agreement with what is found in the bibliography [34,38–40].

Table 6
Result summarized.

Material Basalt BFS

Property p (%) kf (mm/s) kc (mm/s) p (%) kf (mm/s) kc (mm/s)

Average 19.26 1.39 4.97 24.75 1.86 10.52


StdDev 0.42 0.98 0.50 0.97 1.37 1.14
VC (%) 2.13 70.87 10.04 4.38 73.35 10.81

Material CW RAC

Property p (%) kf (mm/s) kc (mm/s) p (%) kf (mm/s) kc (mm/s)

Average 27.06 1,97 15.08 23.42 1.74 9.90


StdDev 1.27 1.46 0.12 1.07 1.19 0.52
CV (%) 5.00 74.35 0.79 5.27 68.41 5.25

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Fig. 8. Relationship between porosity and permeability.

4.2. Determination of the representative number of samples for the permeability coefficient tests

There is a lack of recommendation regarding the number of samples that should be tested to have reliable results. However, for
each test conducted, the number of samples used was 9 specimens. Nevertheless, it is important to know if the chosen samples are
sufficient or whether it is still necessary to test more samples to have more reliable results of permeability. So, the determination of
sample size was made [41], with the experimental results of each type of test, independently of the type of PC, and Eq. (6). In that n is
the number samples to be tested, t and s the student distribution and the standard deviation, respectively, and e the acceptable error
corresponding to a percentage of the mean value. Then it was equal to 10% as considered in former studies [42].

τn2− 1·s 2
n=
e2 (6)

Thus, the values of n for the falling head permeability test and the constant head permeability test were 7 and 8, respectively.
Those results mean that 7 and 8 specimens tested are enough to guarantee that the results will be within the error of 10% of the
average value. Then, it is stated that in both tests the selected 8 samples were sufficient and representative for the determination of
the permeability of the PC.

4.3. Comparison between the falling head and the constant head permeability tests

In order to indicate which of the two tests is the most adequate to measure the permeability coefficient of the PC produced in this
study, the averages, standard deviations and variation coefficients presented in Table 6 are analyzed. In that sense, a boxplot of the
results obtained by both tests is presented in Fig. 9.
This figure shows no significant difference during the falling head permeability test, i.e. on average, all materials have similar
permeability coefficient. On the other hand, in the case of the constant head test, the box plot shows a significant difference between
the averages of each material used to produce PC. The results show how the adapted falling head permeability test cannot detect

Fig. 9. Statistical analysis of the permeability results: a) falling head permeability test and b) and constant head permeability test.

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Fig. 10. Correlation between the results obtained with the falling head and constant head permeability tests.

significant differences between the four materials studied, taking into account that all of them have different porosities. In that sense,
compared with former researchers [11], the permeability results obtained by the falling head permeability test do not assess the high
hydraulic potential that the materials actually present. On the other hand, the constant head permeability method is able to detect
these differences, showing a potential advantage for the characterization of the PC. Notice that this was confirmed performing an
analysis of variability (ANOVA) and a Tukey. The results showed that the there is a significant difference between the results from the
constant head permeability test, whereas the difference between the results obtained carrying out the falling head permeability test
are not significant.

4.4. Correlation between the falling head and the constant head permeability tests

The correlation between the permeability coefficients obtained by means of the falling head and the constant head permeability
tests is presented in Fig. 10.
K c = 1.518·Kf 2.95 (7)
This correlation presents an R of 0.97, showing a good fit. Eq. (7) represents the correlation observed in the figure. This equation
2

is a useful tool for engineers to obtain the permeability coefficient when the construction of a permeameter to perform the constant
head permeability test is impossible, and therefore allows the obtainment of permeability coefficient closer to a real situation. Notice
that this equation is valid for the materials used in this study and the experimental results obtained.

5. Conclusions

A comparison between the falling head and the constant head permeability tests, to assess the permeability of PCs produced with
sustainable aggregates, was performed based on experimental results. The following conclusions can be drawn from the results of this
study:

• Considering the preparation of the tests and the gathering of experimental results, the constant head permeability test presents
significant time, CV and economic gains [15,36]. The preparation of this test is briefer and requires a less meticulous process than
the ones of the adapted falling head permeability test. Furthermore, the gathering of results during the performance of the
constant head permeability test is briefer than the one of the adapted falling head permeability test, since the latter requires the
saturation of the samples, which takes at least 7 days.
• The experimental results validated a direct relationship between the porosity and the permeability, as expected and founded in the
literature review [7,9,13,21]. For both tests, an equation to correlate the pairs of values of porosity-permeability was given. The
tendency of these two equations is similar than the ones presented in the literature.
• The representative number of samples needed for each test considered in the study was determined. It was found that 8 and 7
samples are required to guarantee that the permeability results obtained with the falling head and the constant head permeability
tests, respectively, will be within an error of 10% of the average value.
• The falling head permeability test adapted could not detect significant differences between the four materials studied. Therefore,
it cannot assess the hydraulic potential that the materials actually present. On the other hand, the constant head permeability test
is able to estimate these parameters.
• This study presents an equation to correlate the experimental results obtained by each test. This equation is a useful tool for
engineers to obtain the permeability coefficient when it is not possible to build a permeameter to perform the constant head
permeability test.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Foundation CAPES from the Brazilian Ministry of Education for its financial support.

References

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