Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 337
Fall, 2005

Daily Objectives #11 (October 10, 2005)                                        Dr. Sanders

By the end of today's class, you should be able to do the following:

v Define the following hydraulic properties:

            effective porosity            
            specific yield            
            specific retention 
            hydraulic conductivity

v Design and perform laboratory tests to measure each of the hydraulic properties listed above.

Lab Instructions

In today's lab you will test three sediment samples and measure values of the hydraulic properties listed above.  Four samples are available for you to test, but you need only test three of them.  Various lab supplies and materials are available.  Follow the steps below.

1) Before beginning your tests, you must have your testing protocol for each property approved by the instructor.

2) Decide on the group roles: Coordinator, Recorder, Monitor/Checker (click the link to remind yourself of duties of each role).  

3) Construct a data collection form for each test.

4) Decide which three of the four sediment samples you will test today. 

5) For each sample, write a brief description of the sediment.  At a minimum, include grain size and grain sorting.

6) Perform the tests, collecting data and recording it on the data collection form you developed.  Note: if you do not finish all the tests today, you will need to come in--as a group--on your own.  The sediment samples and lab materials will be available all week.  Please contact me or our Lab Manager, Mr. Pete Fortsas, to be admitted to the lab (S-114) during non-class hours.

7) Use the data you collected to calculate values of the five hydraulic properties.

8) Use whatever resources you can find to determine if the values you measured are appropriate and realistic for the sedments you tested.  Cite the source of any other resources you use.

9) Write a brief lab report, one report per group, that includes the following information:

First page:

• A summary table in the following format:


Grain size and sorting



Effective Porosity


Specific Yield


Specific Retention


Hydraulic Conductivity (K)

 (units:                     )






















Second page:
• A description of the relationship between each property and grain size and between each property and grain sorting (based on your experimental data).   Explain your conclusion and show how your data support the conclusion, or any deviations from the expected.

Pages three through seven (one page per hydraulic property):

• A neat and concise summary of the experimental method you used for each hydraulic property.

• A description of the possible sources of error in your experiments.

• Your data collection forms, data filled in for each sediment.  Use summary tables if/when you find them helpful.

The lab report must be neatly typed and is due at the beginning of class on Monday, October 17.  It will constitute Homework #4.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

© 2005 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated October 10, 2005.