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ASTM D4491/D4491M-17

ASTM D4491/D4491M-17

Standard Test Methods for Water Permeability of Geotextiles by Permittivity

2020-06-08 /Historical
Significance and Use:

5.1 These test methods are considered satisfactory for acceptance testing of commercial shipments of geotextiles since the methods have been used extensively in the trade for acceptance testing.

5.1.1 In case of a dispute arising from differences in reported test results when using these test methods for acceptance testing of commercial shipments, the purchaser and the supplier should conduct comparative tests to determine if there is a statistical bias between their laboratories. Competent statistical assistance is recommended for the investigation of bias. As a minimum, the two parties should take a group of test specimens that are as homogeneous as possible and that are from a lot of material of the type in question. The test specimens should then be randomly assigned in numbers to each laboratory for testing. The average results from the two laboratories should be compared using Student's t-test for unpaired data and an acceptable probability level chosen by the two parties before the start of testing. If a bias is found, either its cause must be found and corrected, or the purchaser and the supplier must agree to interpret future test results in light of the known bias.

5.1.2 When the dispute involves test results produced with either the Method B falling head test or the Method C air flow test, the Method A constant head test, performed with a 50-mm head should be used as the referee method.

5.1.3 When the dispute involves Method C, the actual water temperature used for the water flow tests must be recorded and the viscosity of water at the test temperature must be used in the conversion from the air flow to water flow as described in Section 16, without the application of the temperature correction.

5.1.4 Permittivity is an indicator of the quantity of water that can pass through a geotextile in an isolated condition.

5.1.5 As there are many applications and environmental conditions under which a geotextile may be used, care should be taken when attempting to apply the results of these test methods to the field performance of a geotextile.

5.2 Since there are geotextiles of various thicknesses in use, evaluation in terms of their Darcy coefficient of permeabilities can be misleading. In many instances, it is more significant to evaluate the quantity of water that would pass through a geotextile under a given head over a particular cross-sectional area; this is expressed as permittivity.

5.3 If the permeability of an individual geotextile is of importance, a nominal coefficient of permeability, as related to geotechnical engineering, may be computed. By multiplying permittivity times the nominal thickness of the geotextile, as determined by Test Method D5199, the nominal coefficient of permeability is obtained.

Note 2: The nominal thickness is used as it is difficult to evaluate the pressure on the geotextile during the test, thereby making it difficult to determine the thickness of the fabric under these test conditions.


1.1 These test methods cover procedures for determining the hydraulic conductivity (water permeability) of geotextiles in terms of permittivity under standard testing conditions, in the uncompressed state. Included are three procedures: the constant head and falling head methods using a water flow apparatus, and the air flow method using an air flow apparatus.

1.2 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

constant head; falling head; geotextiles; permeability; permittivity;
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