Permeability of Different Soils
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Permeability (k) is an engineering property of soils and is a function of the soil type. Its value depends on the average size of the pores and is related to the distribution of particle sizes, particle shape and soil structure. The ratio of permeabilities of typical sands/gravels to those of typical clays is of the order of 106. A small proportion of fine material in a coarse-grained soil can lead to a significant reduction in permeability.

For different soil types as per grain size, the orders of magnitude for permeability are as follows:


k (cm/sec)



Coarse sand 100 to 10-1
Medium sand 10-1 to 10-2
Fine sand 10-2 to 10-3
Silty sand 10-3 to 10-4
Silt 1 x 10-5

10-7 to 10-9

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