Abstract

The sorptivity (S) of a porous medium quantifies the effect of capillarity and surface forces on liquid infiltration. For infiltration into initially dry soil, S is dependent on three system attributes: the infiltrating liquid properties, the soil properties, and the maximum liquid content behind the infiltration front, θm. Through the use of scaling analyses, a singular, dimensionless value of intrinsic sorptivity (S*) and an accompanying dimensionless Boltzmann transformation (Φ*) were previously derived that are independent of these system attributes for Miller-similar materials. The existence of S* for different infiltrating liquid properties alone were tested by performing a series of experiments that examined the infiltration of either water or the aliphatic oil Soltrol 220 into an initially dry silica sand. This study extended that work to include testing of intrinsic sorptivity for different values of θm and different Miller-similar soils. A series of 57 experiments examined the infiltration of water or Soltrol 220 into two Miller-similar dry silica sands across a range of θm values. The results of these experiments, together with the previous ones, support the existence of S* for the experimental conditions investigated. A singular value of S* can be used to estimate sorptivity values for Miller-similar media for a range of conditions. Likewise, Φ* can be used to generate a similarity profile for normalized liquid content in Miller-similar media for different liquid types and θm values.

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