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& PFCEMCHITT,

J. (1980). GCotechnique

E. W. BRAND*

and J. PREMCHITTt

a finite difference model used to establish reliable values

for the shape factors of cylindrical

piezometers

with

length/diameter

ratios of up to 15. For piezometers with

length/diameter

ratios greater than 4, it was found that

the shape factor is given with negligible error by the

relationship: F = 7d + 1.651. An examination

of the effect

on the shape factor of piezometer proximity to the watertable showed this to be negligible for practical purposes,

except where the piezometer is within a few piezometer

lengths of the water-table.

Shape factors were also

established for cylindrical piezometers embedded in cylindrical soil specimens subjected to all five possible boundary conditions. The measured shape factors were higher

or lower than the infinite values depending

upon the

boundary conditions and the proximity of the boundaries

to the piezometer. These data give some guidance to the

performance

of pore pressure probes used in laboratory

specimens, and they are useful in the analysis of steady

state flow conditions and for the assessment of response

studies of piezometer systems.

et un modele a difference finie servant a itablir des valeurs

fiables pour les coefficients de forme de pitzometres

cyhndriques dont les rapports longueur/diamttre

peuvent

atteindre

15. Pour les piezometres

dont le rapport

longueur/daimetre

est superieur a 4, on a trouve que le

coefficient

de forme etait donne,

avec une erreur

negligeable, par la relation F = 7d + 1.65. Linfluence sur

le coefficient de forme de la proximite

de la nappc

phreatique

est pratiquement

negligeable sauf lorsque le

piezomttre itait a quelques longueurs de piezomttre de la

nappe phreatique. Les coefficients de forme ont igalement

tte Ctablis pour des piezometres cylindriques

enfonces

dans des ichantillons

de sols cylindriques soumis aux cinq

conditions aux limites possibles. Les coefficients de forme

mesurts

Ctaient superieurs

ou inferieurs aux valeurs

infinies dependant

des conditions

aux hmites, et de la

proximite des limites par rapport au piezometre. Ces

donnees permettent

de se faire une certaine idte de la

performance

de sondes de pression interstitielle utilisees

dans des tchantillons

de laboratoire

et sont utiles pour

lanalyse des conditions dicoulement

stationnaire

ainsi

que pour Ievaluation des rtponses des pitzometres.

INTRODUCTION

Piezometers are widely used for measuring in situ pore pressure and for the insitu determination

of certain soil properties. A piezometer system with a quick response is often important for the

accurate measurement

of pore pressure, and a complete understanding

of the factors which

govern the response characteristics

is crucial to accurate determinations

of soil properties.

Hvorslev (195 1) derived the theoretical time lag for a piezometer system in an incompressible

soil by using the basic differential equation that governs the saturated flow through a falling

head permeameter. The pore pressure u, at any time C,in a piezometer in a soil of permeability k

was shown to be related to the initial pore pressure a,, in the piezometer and the equalization

pore pressure u, by

U

-U

m

= exp ( - Fkt/Vy,)

4c -uo

where yw is the unit weight of the water, and F and Vare respectively the shape factor (or intake

factor) of the piezometer and the volume factor of the piezometer system.

The shape factor and the volume factor, together with the soil permeability,

govern the

response characteristics

of a piezometer system in an incompressible

soil and can be thought of

as the piezometer system characteristics.

These characteristics

can be defined as follows.

Discussion on this Paper closes 1 March, 1981. For further details see inside back cover.

* Public Works Department,

Hong Kong.

t Asian Institute of Technology,

Bangkok.

370

Shapefactor F is a physical dimension of the piezometer which determines the rate of flow q

into the piezometer under a fixed head drop H as

q=FkH

(2)

ViZumefactor Vis the volume of water required to flow into or out of the piezometer system to

equalize a unit pressure difference between the piezometer system and the surrounding soil.

In compressible soils, the consolidation and swelling of the soil surrounding a piezometer

plays a major part in piezometer response (Gibson, 1963), and equation (1) does not govern the

equalization process. Nevertheless, shape factor and volume factor play equally important parts

for piezometers in compressible and incompressible soils.

The volume factor represents the hydraulic flexibility of the piezometer system, which

comprises the piezometer itself, the measuring system and all connecting tubes and valves. Its

absolute value can be measured fairly easily for a given system, or it may be computed from the

volume flexibilities of the separate components.

The shape factor of a piezometer is a function ofits physical dimensions, and this controls the

flow pattern in the soil surrounding the piezometer. It is independent of the soil permeability.

The shape factor is generally a characteristic of an axisymmetrical flow net, since the porous

element of a piezometer is nearly always axisymmetrical in shape. Because the flow net is

affected by the shape and size of the body of soil in which the piezometer is placed, the value of F

is also affected by the physical dimensions of the flow regime and by the conditions at its

boundaries. For a spherical pizometer in a spherical or infinite body of soil, it is possible to

integrate directly the governing equation of flow to obtain a closed-form solution for shape

factor. For piezometers of practical shape however the partial differential equation which

governs the flow cannot usually be solved by analytical means, and no closed-form solutions are

available for the commonly used piezometers.

Apart from their use in predictions of response times of piezometer systems, precise values of

shape factor are vital to the accurate interpretation of in situ methods to determine coefficients

of permeability, consolidation and earth pressure (see Hvorslev, 1951; Gibson, 1963; Bishop &

Al-Dhahir, 1969; Wilkinson, Barden & Rocke, 1969; Bjerrum & Andersen, 1972; Penman, 1975).

Very little attention has been given to the accurate determination of shape factor for cylindrical

piezometers and less still to those for other shapes. Various approaches have been used by

several investigators to obtain numerical solutions for some cylindrical piezometers, but the

values they obtained are not in general agreement, and objections can be raised to some of the

experimental techniques employed. For these reasons, and because of the importance of shape

factors to in situ measurements, the Authors set out to establish reliable values for cylindrical

piezometers, which they consider have not been available hitherto. Because piezometers have

been the subject of response studies (Penman, 1961; Brooker & Lindberg, 1965) and are used for

laboratory measurements, an examination was also undertaken of the effects of boundary

proximity and boundary conditions on measured shape factors. An electric analogue model, in

the form of an electrolytic tank, and a finite difference model were both employed to meet the

objectives of the study.

PREVIOUS

flow rate into the piezometer. The Laplace equation (V2 u = 0) which governs the steady state

flow in a porous medium can be solved in closed-form only for a spherical piezometer, for which

it can readily be shown that F = 2nd, where d is the diameter of the sphere. Piezometers used in

ed.

SHAPE FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

371

PIEZOMETERS

practice are virtually all axisymmetrical, and the steady state flow to these is governed by the

equation

la

1au

(i%=O

__

_-

rar()

rar +a22

where the pore pressure u is expressed in terms of the cylindrical co-ordinates (I, z). No closedform solution is available for a cylindrical cavity in an infinite medium. Dachler (1936) derived a

solution for the flow from a line source for which the equipotential surface was a hemispheroid,

and Hvorslev (1951) applied this solution to a cylindrical piezometer by representing the

cylinder by its inscribed prolate spheroid, to obtain the shape factor as

2nl

F = log(I/d+J[1+(l/d)2]}

(4)

where 1and dare the length and diameter of the piezometer. This equation is only approximate,

the error in the shape factor calculated by equation (4) increasing as l/d decreases.

Kallstenius & Wallgren (1956) presented an alternative derivation of equation (4) by

considering the steady state flow to a spherical piezometer. They suggested that a piezometer of

any shape could be represented by a spherical piezometer with the same surface area. This leads

to the simple expression for shape factor: F = 2,/(nS), where S is the surface area. For

cylindrical piezometers

F = 2nJ(ld)

(5)

This expression predicts F values much below those of Hvorslevs values for l/d< 1 and for

l/d> 15. In practice cylindrical piezometers generally have l/d ratios between 4 and 10, and for

this range, equation (5) gives F values which are within f 5% of those given by equation (4).

Wilkinson (1968) noted that Hvorslevs expression slightly underestimated the value of F, and

he suggested that a more accurate value could be obtained by representing the cylinder by an

inscribed prolate spheroid with its major axis adjusted so that its volume was equal to that ofthe

cylinder. This empirical adjustment results in

3lrl

F = log {la/d+JCl

+UW421}

(6)

Smiles & Youngs (1965) employed an electric analogue model to measure directly shape

factors for cylindrical cavities with l/d ratios in the range &4. A square tank,

1000 x 1000 x 250 mm deep filled with water, simulated the soil medium, while brass rods

represented the piezometers. The shape factor was determined from the resistance between the

brass rod and the brass sheet at the boundary of the tank as measured by an AC bridge with a

cathode ray oscilloscope as the null indicator. The values of shape factor measured in this way

were generally about 15% higher than those predicted by equation (4).

Numerical analysis for shape factors of cylindrical piezometers has been carried out using

finite differences by only Al-Dahir & Morgenstern (1969) and Raymond & Azzouz (1969). AlDhahir & Morgenstern employed the Gauss-Siedel successive over-relaxation technique to

examine the flow towards cylindrical piezometers in an infinite porous medium (with a

diameter 50 times the piezometer diameter); their results were within about 5% of those obtained

experimentally by Smiles dz Youngs (1965) for l/d ratios of &4. Using a similar numerical

technique, however, Raymond & Azzouz (1969) arrived at shape factor values which averaged

only about 70% of those reported by Al-Dhahir & Morgenstern (1969); unfortunately, they gave

no details of their finite difference method.

312

X Smiles

0

Al-Dhohir

8 Youngs

(1965)

8 Morgenstern

(1969)

Length/diameter

Fig. 1. Previously published shape factor measurements

between shape factor and length/diameter ratio

IO

12

14

16

(P/d)

The results of the direct determinations of shape factor by Smiles & Youngs (1965) Al-Dhahir

& Morgenstern (1969) and Raymond & Azzouz (1969) are plotted in Fig. 1 in terms of the ratio

F/d for cylindrical piezometers with l/d ratios from (r20. These may be compared with the

closed-form solutions of Hvorslev (1951), Kallstenius & Wallgren (1956) and Wilkinson (1968).

Figure 1 illustrates clearly the present uncertainty which exists over the numerical values of

shape factor for cylindrical piezometers; it is also apparent that reliable measurements have

been limited to an l/d ratio of less than 4.

PROGRAMME

The

OF SHAPE FACTOR

STUDIES

three express objectives of the Authors programme of shape factor studies were

(a) to establish for field use accurate values of shape factor for cylindrical piezometers with

l/d ratios from 2 to 15

(b) to evaluate the effect on its shape factor of the proximity of a piezometer to the watertable

(c) to examine the influence of boundary conditions on the shape factors of piezometers

used in laboratory test specimens

To achieve these objectives, a circular electrolytic tank model (liquid analogue) was used, all the

results obtained from part (c) being checked against those obtained by means of a finite

difference model.

Shape factors for cylindrical piezometers in an infinite medium were established by means of

the liquid analogue alone after calibration with spherical model piezometers to ensure its

validity and to enable the cylindrical piezometers to be modelled at a scale that ensured the

accurate representation of an infinite flow regime. A secondary calibration of the model was

achieved by carrying out the shape factor measurements with two separate boundary

conditions to ensure that no boundary effects existed. A boundary of a flow regime can

theoretically be a recharge (or drainage) boundary, where the pore pressure u = constant (i.e. an

equipotential surface); or an impermeable boundary, where au/az = 0 or where au/& = 0 (i.e. a

flow surface).

Bl

I

1

I

.

A{

I.

B2

examined

Brass model

.-piezometers

\rll

.-Top

I

1

373

PIEZOMETERS

T

i

&/boss

81

water mesh--

y

--_

-_--

I

(b)

Simulation

of boundary

conditions

in liquid

analogue

Fig. 2. Boundary conditions Bl and B2 used with the liquid electric analogue model for measurements of shape factors for

cyliklrical piezometers in an infinite medium

In the field, the flow regime in the region of a piezometer is generally of finite extent in a

vertical direction, the soil stratum in question being bounded by a relatively impermeable

surface below and a water-table (equipotential surface) above. These boundary conditions,

designated as Bl in Fig. 2, were first applied to the model (in which the water-table is inverted),

and the shape factor measurements were repeated for boundary conditions B2.

Frevert & Kirkham (1948) reported that the proximity of an open-ended tube to the watertable had a significant effect on the measured shape factor. This might be important for the

determination of in situ soil properties, and it was investigated for cylindrical piezometers in the

liquid analogue.

Where piezometers are used for laboratory measurements, they are most commonly placed in

cylindrical soil specimens with length twice the diameter, the side and end boundaries of which

are either impermeable surfaces (rubber membranes and solid end platens) or drainage surfaces

(filter paper drains or porous end platens). The five possible sets of boundary conditions are

illustrated in Fig. 3, where they are designated as Bl-B5. These five boundary conditions

represent commonly used drainage mechanisms for biaxial specimens, and all were examined in

the shape factor studies. Both the electric analogue and the finite difference model were used to

determine the shape factors, the variables examined being the boundary conditions, the ratio of

specimen diameter D to piezometer diameter d, the l/d ratio for the piezometer, and the vertical

position of the piezometer relative to the end platens.

THE ELECTRIC

ANALOGUE

MODEL

The electric analogue model was constructed specially for the shape factor measurements. A

cylindrical electrolytic tank, 900mm diameter and 500mm deep, was made of 3 mm thick

perspex with a 6mm perspex bottom plate. The electrolyte used was water. The model

piezometers were made of brass and were located on the axis of the tank. The recharge

boundaries at the sides and bottom of the tank were represented by a BS No. 30 brass wire mesh.

314

B2

Bl

B4

83

Recharge

Impermeable

or drainage

B5

boundary

boundary

Fig. 3. Boundary conditions BlLB5 used for measurements of shape factors for cylindrical piezometers in a cylindrical

soil specimen with length/diameter ratio of 2

For the tests conducted to examine boundary effects in laboratory specimens, 1 mm brass plate

was formed into cylinders which were placed symmetrically

in the tank. An AC bridge was used

for measurements

between the two electrodes.

The cylindrical piezometers used for shape factor measurements

in an infinite porous medium

were represented by a 3 mm diameter brass rod wrapped with PVC insulating tape except along

an exposed length which was varied to achieve the desired range of l/d ratios. The ratio of

piezometer diameter d to tank diameter D therefore was 300, and this was found to satisfy the

condition for an infinite porous medium (see below). The insulated rod was held in a screw

clamp attached to a vertical lory which was, in turn, mounted on a horizontal lory positioned

across the tank diameter. For the simulation of piezometers in laboratory specimens, 12.7 mm

diameter brass models were attached to an insulated brass rod. By means of the lory system, any

piezometer could be positioned in the electrolytic tank to an accuracy of 01 mm.

The measurement

ofshape factor was carried out in much the same way as that used by Smiles

& Youngs (1965), but some small refinements were adopted. The resistance of the electrolyte

between the electrodes was determined by means of an AC bridge circuit energized by a constant

9 volts 50 Hz power supply. Resistances were measured to an accuracy of 1% by using a digital

voltmeter as a null indicator. Measurements

were made quickly to avoid polarization.

The

shape factor F was calculated directly from the measured resistance R as

F = l/oR

(7)

of the electrolyte.

The conductivity

ofthe tap water used as the electrolyte was measured in a cylindrical perspex

conductivity

cell 140 mm diameter and 400 mm long. Two brass discs in the cell were used as

electrodes in the same AC bridge employed with the electrolytic

tank, and the resistance

between the discs was measured for various lengths ofelectrolyte column by varying the spacing

between the discs. The conductivity

of the tap water was found to vary significantly

with

temperature

(Fig. 4), a fact which has not been mentioned previously by those working with

liquid analogue models. The variation of about 1.4 x 10e6 mho/mm (or about 2%) per degree

Celsius at 25 C would cause appreciable errors in shape factor measurements

in conditions

where a controlled

temperature

environment

was not available and where the conductivity

SHAPE

FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

80

375

PIEZOMETERS

75 -

70 -

I

21

65

20

I

23

22

I

24

Temperature,

Fig. 4.

0

0

v

x

Sample 1

2

n

3

.

4

25

26

27

28

Table 1.

Sphere diameter

d:

Ratio diameter

diameter

mm

tank

Measured

18

35

41

71

50.8

25.4

19.05

12-7

F/d

Theoretical

F/d

sphere

6.78

6.48

6.43

6.35

6.28

variations

were not appreciated.

The Authors measurements

were carried out in an

environment

where the temperature

varied only a few degrees, and a thermometer

was used

constantly

to measure the temperature

of the water in the electrolytic tank.

In order to calibrate the electrolytic tank, measurements

were first made of shape factors for

spherical piezometers, for which F = 2nd or F/d = 6.28. Brass spheres with diameters 12.5, 19,

25 and 50 mm were used for this purpose, each being suspended mid-depth in the water by a

nylon sling attached to the horizontal lory over the tank. The results are shown in Table 1, where

it can be seen that the value of F/d approached

6.28 as the ratio of the tank diameter to the

piezometer diameter increased. For the largest diameter ratio of 71, the F/d value was only

about 1% above the theoretical value for an infinite medium.

THE FINITE DIFFERENCE MODEL

The finite difference

form of equation

Ui+,,j+Ui_~,j+(1+h/2rj)Ui,j+~+(l-h/2rj)Ui,j-,-4Ui,j=O

(8)

where h is the node spacing (mesh size), and r is the radial distance of node (i,j) from the axis; i

and j increase in the z and r directions respectively. The most powerful means for solving the

system of finite difference equations is the Gauss-Siedel

iterative method with over-relaxation

(Forsythe & Wasow, 1960), and this was adopted by the Authors, as it had been by Al-Dhahir &

Morgenstern (1969) for their work on shape factors. The piezometer was treated as a sink (u = 0)

1.84

1.86

1.88

Over-

1.90

relaxation

boundary conditions B2 and B3

1.92

1.94

parameter

1.96

I .98

2.00

(Cd)

and the recharge boundaries were assigned the value u = 10. The iteration was terminated when

the maximum difference between two successive values of the pore pressure at any node was less

than 0N105.

Although

convergence

is ensured by the nature of the Laplace equation,

the rate of

convergence

was found to depend on the boundary

conditions

and the value of the

over-relaxation

parameter, w. At first, the Authors used the value w = 1.9, shown to be the

theoretical optimum by Forsythe & Wasow (1960), and this resulted in rapid convergence for

boundary conditions

Bl, B4 and B5 (Fig. 3). Convergence

for B3 however was appreciably

slower and B2 required almost 400 iterations. Al-Dhahir & Morgenstern

had experienced the

same difficulty. An examination

was made of the effect of the over-relaxation

parameter on the

rate of convergence for boundary conditions B2 and B3, with the result shown in Fig. 5. The

optimum value of w for B3 is confirmed as being in the region of 1.90; for B2 the optimum value

of w = 1.96 resulted in convergence being achieved in 200 iterations.

As in the liquid analogue tests, the cylindrical piezometers were simulated as being permeable

only over their curved surface. The piezometer ends were assumed to be impermeable, and the

boundary condition au/& = 0 was assigned. A singularity existed at each of the four corners of

the piezometer where it was necessary for the node to satisfy the condition u = 0 for the curved

permeable surface and au/dz = 0 for the impermeable

end cap. Al-Dhahir

& Morgenstern

(1969) showed that this difficulty has a critical effect on shape factors calculated by finite

differences, and they dealt with the singularity

by calculating

F values for both boundary

conditions for a range of mesh sizes. The two values of F converged to a unique value at zero

mesh size, thus eliminating the effects of both singularity and mesh size. The Authors adopted

this same technique, a typical example of which is illustrated in Fig. 6.

When convergence had been achieved for the finite difference solution to the pore pressure

distribution

in the flow regime, the flow rate to the piezometer was calculated by the contour

integration method. For steady state flow, the flow rate through any closed surface around the

piezometer should be the same and should be equal to the flow rate into the piezometer. Three

SHAPE FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

377

PIEZOMETERS

Mesh

size / piezometer

diameter

Fig. 6. Effect of mesh size and singularity condition on the value of shape factor determined from the finite difference

model (I/d = 2, D/d = 8)

Table 2.

1

Ratio d

2

4

6

8

12

15

boundary conditions Bl

boundary conditions B2

9.10

13.51

17.21

20.30

26.77

30.74

8.80

13.36

16.95

20.10

26.41

30.69

Ratio gi

1.03

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.00

cylindrical surfaces were selected in each case, the shape factor being computed from the flow

rates through each of these. Shape factors so determined were accepted as accurate if the three

values were all within 1% of each other.

The results obtained from the finite difference model were all checked independently

by

measurements

carried out in the liquid analogue model. In no case did the discrepancy between

the two values of shape factor exceed 2%. The Authors are confident, therefore, that their results

are completely reliable.

SHAPE FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

PIEZOMETERS

IN INFINITE SOIL

The calibration of the electrolytic tank by spherical piezometers verified that infinite values of

shape factor would be determined for pizometers located at mid-depth in the centre of the tank.

The values of F/d determined in this way, with the ratio of the tank diameter to piezometer

diameter of 300, are listed in Table 2 for the two boundary conditions Bl and B2 (Fig. 2). It can

be seen that the values are very nearly the same for the two boundary conditions, which verifies

that the distance to the boundaries

was sufficiently large not to affect the measured shape

factors.

_*

xi

0

A

I

ti

Length

Fig. 7.

/ diameter

Al - Dhohir 8 Morgenstern(l969

Roymond 8 Azzoui

(1969)

I

IO

I2

14

16

(l/d)

Measured shape factors for cylindrical piezometers in an infinite medium as a function of length/diameter

ratio

The measured infinite shape factors (for boundary conditions Bl) are plotted in Fig. 7 in terms

ofthe ratio F/d versus the ratio l/d, and these are compared with the results obtained by previous

investigators.

The Authors results are seen to be in good agreement with those of Smiles &

Youngs (1965) and Al-Dhahir & Morgenstern (1969) all of which give shape factors appreciably

higher than those determined

by Raymond

& Azzouz (1969). The empirical closed-form

expressions for F/d proposed by Hvorslev (1951) Kallstenius & Wallgren (1956) and Wilkinson

(1968) do not fit the experimental results well. A good fit is obtained however if l/d in Hvorslevs

equation (4) is replaced by 1.21/d to give

2.4nl

F = log {1.21/d+&

For piezometers with l/d 2 4, the measured

error by the relationship

+wv021~

F = 7d+ 1,651

VARIATION

OF SHAPE FACTOR

(9)

with negligible

(10)

The effect of the proximity of the water-table on the shape factor of a piezometer is a boundary

effect, but it is worth consideration

separate from other boundary effects because of its practical

implications.

For boundary conditions Bl and B2, the electrolytic tank was used to measure the variations

in F values with depth below the water-table for a whole range of vertical boundary proximities.

When a piezometer was placed in a narrow flow regime, the effects of depth were very marked,

but this decreased as the regime widened. The only significant results were those obtained with

boundary

conditions

Bl applied to the semi-infinite

condition (i.e. where the ratio of tank

diameter to piezometer diamehr

was 300 and the piezometer approached

the water-table).

These results are shown in Fig. 8. In Fig. 8(a), the measured values of F/d are plotted against the

ratio of the piezometer depth to piezometer diameter z/d; it is apparent that the effect of the

SHAPE FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

379

PIEZOMETERS

12.5

A

X

$d

n

10.0 -

0

A

0

X

ox

x5*

0

L

4

6

0

12

,e

I ,8 5.0 -

IL I

2.5-

I

A

0

I

4

I

3

I

2

I

I

length

(z/l )

03

30

20

a/d

=4

0

P/d=2

IO F

0

4

IO

20

diameter

Illll[

40

60 80

100

table /

(z/d 1

(4

Fig. 8. Variation with depth below water-table of measured shape factors for cylindrical piezometers (a) shape factors

expressed in terms of the ratio of depth below water-table z to piezometer diameter d, (b) increase in shape factor F from

infinite value F, aswater-table is approached (depth z is measured from piezometer centre)

380

E. W.

B2

BRAND

B4

tz

( F/d = 11.19)

Fig. 9. Equipotential lines for steady state flow to a piezometer (l/d = 2) in a soil specimen (L/D = 2, D/d = 8) to which

boundary conditions B2, B3 and 84 are applied (the horizontal scale is 1.2 times the natural scale)

water-table is insignificant except for long piezometers very close to it. In Fig. 8(b), the results are

shown in terms of the deviation of the shape factor from the infinite value for piezometers within

five lengths of the water-table; the deviation is within 10% until the piezometer is within one

length of the water-table.

For most practical purposes the water-table effect is negligible.

SHAPE

FACTORS

FOR

PIEZOMETERS

IN LABORATORY

SPECIMENS

When steady state flow occurs into or out of a piezometer located in a soil specimen, the

distribution

of pore pressures (potentials) in the specimen is governed by the geometries of the

piezometer and the specimen and by the drainage conditions at the specimen boundaries. The

pore pressure distribution

in turn controls the rate of flow and hence the shape factor of the

piezometer under those particular conditions. It is clear that there is an infinite number of shape

factors for cylindrical piezometers in cylindrical soil specimens because of the infinite number of

flow regime geometries which are possible. For this reason, it is worthwhile for only typical

results ofthe Authors measurements

to be presented to illustrate the main factors which control

the rates of flow and hence the shape factors of the piezometers.

The shape factor values

computed for boundary conditions Bl, B4 and B5 (Fig. 3) were almost the same; typical results

will be given to show the effects of boundary conditions B2, B3 and B4, and the proximity of the

boundaries to the piezometer in terms of the ratios of: specimen diameter to piezometer diameter

D/d;specimen length to piezometer length L/l;

and depth of piezometer below end cap to

piezometer diameter z/d.

SHAPE FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

PIEZOMETERS

Specimen

381

I2

diameter/

specimens for which l/d = L/D = 2

piezometer

30

21:

OO

20

24

diameter

28

(D/d)

Piezometer / length

2

I6

diameter

I

8

I

12

I

I6

U/d)

IO

I2

I4

/!!jy

I

4

I

20

I

24

, 1

Fig. 11. Variation in shape factor with piezometer diameter for piezometers of constant length embedded in a soil

specimen (L/I = 4)

The effect of the boundary conditions on the rate of flow into a piezometer at the centre of a

specimen is illustrated

directly in Fig. 9; here the pore pressure distributions

(in terms of

equipotential

lines) are compared for boundary

conditions

B2, B3 and B4 for the situation

where L/l = D/d = 8 and L/D = l/d = 2. Plotted in Fig. 10 are the shape factors measured for a

range of values of L/l for piezometers

with the same proportions

as the specimen, i.e.

l/d = L/D = 2. As would be expected, boundary conditions B4 result in higher measured shape

factors than do conditions B2 and B3, but the B4 values are always higher than the infinite shape

E. W. BRAND

382

Piezometer length /diameter

OO

12

I

8

I

12

I

I6

AND I. PREMCHIIT

(P/d 1

2

I

20

I

24

28

(L/e)

Fig. 12. Variation in shape factor with piezometer length for piezometers of constant diameter embedded in a soil

specimen (D/d = 24)

factors, whereas the B2 and B3 values are always lower. As the distance from the boundaries to

the piezometer increases, the infinite F value is approached

in each case; but even when

D/d = 24 the B2 value reaches less than 65% of the infinite value.

Measured shape factors are shown in Fig. 11 for piezometers of constant length (L/Z = 4) but

variable diameter, and in Fig. 12 for piezometers of constant diameter (D/d = 24) but variable

length. The dominant

effect of the specimen ends is apparent where the piezometer length

approaches that of the specimen; this is the same as the water-table effect already noted above.

The effect of the depth of the piezometer in the soil specimen is illustrated in Fig. 13 for the two

situations where D/d = 24 and 11; only the two extreme boundary conditions

B2 and B4 are

considered.

The shape factors for boundary

conditions

B2 are greatly affected by the

piezometers position in the specimen, whereas little effect was measured for condition B4.

The results depicted in Figs 9-13 provide guidance to the performance

of pore pressure

probes in soil specimens and to the efficiency of the various methods of draining triaxial

specimens during consolidation.

They can also be used to determine accurately the permeability

of cylindrical soil specimens directly from constant head tests in which steady state conditions

have been achieved.

The results in Figs 9-13 are also of relevance in the interpretation

of the data obtained by

Penman (1961) and Brooker & Lindberg (1965), both of whom examined the performance

characteristics

of field piezometers by installing them in large cylindrical soil specimens in the

laboratory.

Both investigations

were concerned

entirely with the response rates of the

piezometers. Penman concluded that the time to 100% response was inversely proportional

to

the shape factor, as predicted by Hvorslevs theory (equation (1)) but that the theoretically

predicted response curves were quite different from those measured. Brooker & Lindberg also

found that Hvorslevs theory only gave good predictions of response times for responses greater

than 90%. Since both investigations

employed a clay soil, it is not surprising that Hvorslevs

SHAPE FACTORS

OF CYLINDRICAL

383

PIEZOMETERS

1,

1

P/d = 12

i5

6

(a)D/d=24

-B4,

--

0

0

82,

IO

Distance

15

20

of piezometer

from drainage

84, -5

82,

IO

platten/piezometer

15

20

25

diameter(z/d)

Fig. 13. Variation in shape factor with depth of embedment for piezometers of constant diameter embedded in soil

specimens subjected to boundary conditions B2 and B4

soils provided poor agreement with experimental

response times

during the early stages of equalization.

The theory of piezometer response in compressible soils

(Gibson, 1963) was not available when Penman conducted his experiments,

but Brooker &

Lindberg did compare their results with those predicted by Gibsons theory; they reached the

surprising conclusion

that Hvorslevs theory gave better predictions

of the time-response

relationships.

It is probable that the conclusions drawn from their experimental

results by Penman (1961)

and Brooker & Lindberg (1965) are unsound for a number of reasons, one of these being their

failure to appreciate that the shape factor of a piezometer in a restricted flow regime is not a

unique quantity but is a function of the geometry of the flow regime and the boundary

conditions.

At the time that the two investigations

were carried out, not even reasonably

accurate infinite shape factors for piezometers were available, and the investigators relied upon

Hvorslevs empirical equation (equation (4)) for the interpretation

of their results.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The work described in this Paper was carried out in the Geotechnical

& Transportation

Engineering Division of the Asian Institute of Technology, as part of a continuing programme

of research into the engineering

behaviour of soft clays.

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