A Convenient Device to Measure the Permeability of Intact Rock (Heterogeneity and Anisotropy)

Alejandro Cardona*, J. Carlos Santamarina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The permeability of intact rocks affects a wide range of natural and engineered systems, yet its measurement remains costly and involves time demanding test protocols. Gas permeameters may improve efficiency but involve a complex series of pore-scale processes. In addition, peripheral damage during coring and the jacket-rock interface create a preferential flow path that affects the inferred permeability. We present a convenient permeameter for liquid-based permeability measurements using an unjacketed disk specimen. The test configuration minimizes peripheral flow bias and expedites testing times. The permeameter uses readily available devices for pressure and flow rate measurement/control and can be readily configured to measure rock permeability across six orders of magnitude. Preliminary numerical simulations allowed us to optimize the test design, to extract coefficients for data correction, and to process data to recover permeability anisotropy. The system is experimentally verified against industry standards and used to test cleaning protocols to remove fines left on the specimen surface after specimen preparation; these fines may cause clogging at the inlet phase-a bias that affects all permeameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 by ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959.


  • anisotropy
  • flow
  • heterogeneity
  • hydraulic conductivity
  • permeability
  • rock testing
  • unjacketed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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