Porosity Flow Rate Model

Groundwater is constantly moving within an aquifer. How fast and how far groundwater moves depends upon the concepts of porosity, permeability, and flow velocity. Porosity is how much water an aquifer can hold; permeability is how easily water moves through an aquifer. Which sediments make the best aquifer? Which sediments best protect an aquifer from contaminant spills?

This model includes four different plastic cylinders containing different sediment materials: sand, gravel, clay, and till (a mixture of sand, gravel, and clay). By measuring the volume of water each cylinder holds, participants can calculate the amount of pore space, or porosity, of each material. Then, by measuring how quickly water moves through the cylinders, participants can estimate permeability.

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