Published: August 30, 2018 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Permeability Mean?

Permeability, as it pertains to soil, is a measure of the ability of a soil to allow water to flow through it. The permeability of the soil is directly related to its porosity, meaning the more porous the soil, the higher its permeability. The permeability of soils arises from the presence of voids within the soil matrix, where water flows from points of high energy to low energy.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Permeability

Permeability is an essential soil parameter in trenchless construction and general earth construction. It is used to predict soil behavior and is required to design and build several types of structures, including earth dams, foundations, retaining walls, and hydraulic structures. Soil permeability can influence soil behavioral characteristics such as rate of settlement, slope stability, and drainage ability.

Permeability is typically affected by, but not limited to, the following factors:

  • Particle size
  • Soil void ratio
  • Properties of the fluid
  • Particle shape
  • Degree of soil saturation
  • Temperature
  • Structure of soil mass

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