Enabling the Application of Large Footprint Open-Bottom Permeameters Through New Shape Factors

Vitaly A. Zlotnik, Kevin D. Cole, Meinhard B. Cardenas, Anatoly V. Zlotnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Open-bottom permeameters (OBP) are commonly used for estimating the hydraulic properties of sediment beds under water bodies and fluxes across the sediment-water interface. The specific shape factor for an OBP flow situation is necessary for data interpretation. It is determined by the ratio of the permeameter tube radius to the tube's penetration depth within the sediment. Previous permeameter designs favored small radii which allowed for deeper penetration and stability of the tube. The shape factor is provided here for large footprint OBPs that allows for shallow penetration and greater radius. Through a numerical and analytical modeling study of the OBP hydrodynamics, previous knowledge on the OBP shape factor is generalized to the entire range of radius-to-penetration ratios that might be practically applied. The results reveal the advantages of the large footprint design, including better sensitivity due to the ability to impose larger discharge over a shorter test duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020WR029315
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Flux
  • hydraulic conductivity
  • large footprint
  • numerical and analytical methods
  • open-bottom permeameter (OBP)
  • shape factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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