Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 189–206 | Cite as

Experimental Investigation on Non-Darcian Flow in Unbound Graded Aggregate Material of Highway Pavement

  • Han-Cheng DanEmail author
  • Lin-Hua He
  • Bo Xu


The unbound graded aggregate base (UGAB) has been widely used in drainage layers of highway pavements. This kind of material is of high permeability and can thus drain efficiently the water infiltrated through cracks in the pavement and reduce the associated water damage. The hydraulic conductivity of UGAB is a key factor describing the water flow behavior in UGAB and thus be considered primarily in the design of highway drainage engineering. In this study, the flow behavior of UGAB material was investigated through constant head permeability experiments. Based on the Reynolds number analysis, it was found that the flow in UGAB material was non-Darcian even though under relatively low hydraulic gradient. Therefore, the Darcy law cannot be directly applied to determine the hydraulic conductivity of UGAB. Furthermore, the empirical expression of coefficients in Forchheimer equation, which can be available to evaluate hydraulic conductivity of UGAB material approximately, is presented incorporating the representative particle size and porosity based on the Ergun equation. Then, it was validated against the aid of normalized objective function analysis. Through comparison analysis, the sequencing of hydraulic conductivity of UGAB material was sorted quantitatively in terms of different gradation and representative particle size (\(d_{50}\) and \(\overline{d}\)). The results also showed that the \(d_{50}\) \((\overline{d})\) and the content of fine particles (<0.075 mm) are appropriate indexes for the gradation design of UGAB material in highway pavement engineering.


Unbound graded aggregate Non-Darcian flow Forchheimer equation Hydraulic conductivity Compaction degree 



This research has been supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 51248006 and 51308554), the Special Financial Grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2013T60865) and the Guizhou Transportation Science and Technology Foundation (Grant No. 2013-121-013) to the corresponding author. The research is also assisted by the Guizhou Science and Technology Department Foundation (Grant No. 20132167).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Post-doctoral Research CenterGuizhou Transportation Planning Survey & Design AcademeGuiyangChina

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