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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Dr Fabian Wadsworth

Wadsworth, Fabian B., Vossen, Caron E. J., Schmid, Diana, Colombier, Mathieu, Heap, Michael J., Scheu, Bettina & Dingwell, Donald B. (2020). Determination of permeability using a classic Darcy water column. American Journal of Physics 88(1): 20-24.

Author(s) from Durham


Permeability is a macroscopic property of materials with a percolating pore phase, such as many rocks and filters. We describe a simple experiment for the empirical determination of permeability using a low-cost method similar to that used by Darcy. We advocate the use of controlled cylindrical sintered filters, for which there is theoretical constraint of the permeability as a function of porosity, against which empirical results can be compared. The methodology presented here provides a step-by-step approach to laboratory experiments and numerical techniques for fitting a linear equation to data and is appropriate for undergraduate Physics, Earth Science, or Engineering courses.