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# Darcys Law and Hydraulic Head

h1 h 2
Q=K
A
L

## h1 and h2 are hydraulic

points 1 and 2.
of the potential of the
water fluid at the
measurement point.

hp1
h1

h2
hp2
Q
z1

z2

datum

## Potential of a fluid at a specific point is the work required to

transform a unit of mass of fluid from an arbitrarily chosen state
to the state under consideration.

## Three Types of Potentials

A. Pressure potential
work required to raise the water pressure
1 P
1 P m
P
W1 = V dP =
dP =
m 0
m 0 w
w

## w : density of water assumed to be independent of pressure

V: volume
z=0
P=0
v=0
Reference state

z=z
P=P
v=v
Current state

B. Elevation potential
work required to raise the elevation

1 Z
W2 = mgdz = gz
m 0
C. Kinetic potential
work required to raise the velocity (dz = vdt)
v
1 Z
1 Z dv
v2
W3 = madz = m dz = vdv =
0
2
m 0
m 0 dt

Total potential:

v2
=
+ gz +
w
2
P

Unit [L2T-1]

v2
P
h= =
+z+
2g
g w g
Unit [L]

P
v2
h=
+z+
w g
2g
Kinetic term

pressure

elevation [L]

Piezometer
P1
g

h1
z1

P2
g

z2

h2
datum

## A fluid moves from where the total head is higher to

where it is lower. For an ideal fluid (frictionless and
incompressible), the total head would stay constant.

(Fetter, p141)

v2
P
+z+
h=
wg
2g

Kinetic term
negligible

## h = hydraulic head [L]

P w g = pressure head [L]
Important: h is relative to datum (reference state)
piezometers
h1

flow
direction?

h2
A

B
datum

## The pressure exerted

at each hole and the
force of the jet
depend on the height
of water above that
particular hole

A strong jet
indicates that the
recharge area may
be far from the
point!
Ways of water, p125

Example:
PA = ?
absolute pressure

PA =

## Po: atmospheric pressure = 1 atm= 1.013 x 105 Pa

F
+ Po
A

Relative (gage)

PA

F
mg ( HA ) w g
PA =
=
=
= w gH
A
A
A
Given: H= 10 m
g = 9.8 m/s2
w= 1.0 g/cm3 = 1000 kg/m3

hp

kg
m
PA = 1000 3 9.8 2 10m
m
s
N
kgm
= 98000 2 2 2 Pa
s m m

gH
PA
= w
= H = 10 m
w g
w g

## In the previous example, what is the hydraulic head at A?

hA = ?
B

hA

z
datum

hB = ?

Piezometer
Depth to
Groundwater

Groundwater level

(Pressure P ( g )
w
h

A
(elevation z

Datum

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/gws/gwbc/C02_origin.html

Piezometer (measure
water level at a point)

## Water enters the

pipe through a point

## Observation well or standpipe

(measure water level along a section)

## Water enters the

pipe through a section

## Nested piezometers to measure vertical hydraulic gradients

hA
hB
Datum
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/gws/gwbc/C02_origin.html

h = z + hp = z +

P
g

Nested
Piezometers
A

Surface Elevation

225

225

225

Depth to piezometer

150

100

75

80

77

60

Pressure (hp)A =
(hp)C =
AB =
BC =

150

datum

100

C
66

elevation
=225

77

hB =
hC =

80

Depth to water

75

Coastal aquifers

Density Effect
When comparing heads of fluids with different densities,
pressure heads must be converted to the same reference density.

Ps = Pf

s ghs = f gh f
s
hf =

hs

By average
s = 1 .04 10 3 kg
f = 1 .0 10 3 kg

m3

m3

## Point-water heads for a system

of three aquifers, each
containing water with a different
density

?
?
?

Aquifer

Water Density

Point-Water

999 kg/m3

50.00 m

55.00 m

1040 kg/m3

31.34 m

54.67 m

1100 kg/m3

7.95 m

51.88 m

Aquifer

Point-Water

5.00 m

1.00

5.00 m

55.0 m

23.33 m

1.04

24.3 m

55.5 m

43.93 m

1.10

48.3 m

56.3 m

Fresh-Water
Fresh-Water

vd
R=

laminar flow

turbulent flow

## v: seepage velocity [LT-1]

d: diameter of passageway for fluid [L]

: viscosity [MT-1L-1]

## Darcys Law is only applicable to laminar flow with

small Reynolds numbers (<1~10). Groundwater
behaves as laminar flow under most circumstances.