Gas diffusion-derived tortuosity governs saturated hydraulic conductivity in sandy soils

Federico Masís-Meléndez, T. K.K. Chamindu Deepagoda, Lis Wollesen de Jonge, Markus Tuller, Per Moldrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) is an essential effective parameter for the development of improved distributed hydrological models and area-differentiated risk assessment of chemical leaching. Basic soil properties such as the particle size distribution or, more recently, air permeability are commonly used to estimate Ksat. Conversely, links to soil gas diffusivity (Dp/Do) have not been fully explored even though gas diffusivity is intimately linked to the connectivity and tortuosity of the soil pore network. Based on measurements for a coarse sandy soil, potential relationships between Ksat and Dp/Do were investigated. A total of 84 undisturbed soil cores were extracted from the topsoil of a field site, and Dp/Do and Ksat were measured in the laboratory. Water-induced and solids-induced tortuosity factors were obtained by applying a two-parameter Dp/Do model to measured data, and subsequently linked to the cementation exponent of the well-established Revil and Cathles predictive model for saturated hydraulic conductivity. Furthermore, a two-parameter model, analogue to the Kozeny-Carman equation, was developed for the Ksat-Dp/Do relationship. All analyses implied strong and fundamental relationships between Ksat and Dp/Do.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-396
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - May 6 2014


  • Particle size distribution
  • Porosity
  • Saturated hydraulic conductivity
  • Soil gas diffusivity
  • Tortuosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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