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Water Distribution Variation in Partially Saturated Granular Materials Using Neutron Imaging



Daniel S. Hussey, Felix Kim, Dayakar Penumadu


The use of neutron imaging is demonstrated for visualizing and quantifying water content in partially saturated granular porous media. Due to the unique difference in the total neutron cross sections of water, sand and air, a significant contrast for the three phases is observed in a neutron transmission image, and a quantitative analysis provides detailed information on the arrangement and distribution of particles, voids, and water. The experiments in this study are performed at the Neutron Imaging Facility (NIF) at the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). An amorphous silicon flat panel detector was used in this research with a spatial resolution of approximately 250 μm. The effect of particle morphology on water distribution in compacted granular columns is investigated by using round and angular silica sand. Silica sand samples with different bulk gravimetric water contents (0 %, 6 %, 9 % and 12 %) are studied for evaluating the water phase distribution spatially for compacted sand samples in an aluminum cylinder.
Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering


granular materials, multi-phase, Neutron Tomography, partially paturated, water content


, D. , Kim, F. and Penumadu, D. (2021), Water Distribution Variation in Partially Saturated Granular Materials Using Neutron Imaging, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created April 21, 2021