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Why is multiple packer test instead of single packer test sometimes adopted in testing permeability of rock?

Packer test is used in unlined drillholes in rock to test the permeability. In single packer test, the hole is drilled to the bottom of first test section and the top of the test section is sealed off by a packer. Water is then delivered to the test section and it is kept at constant pressure and the flow is measured.

In highly fractured rock there is a high chance that water tends to leak around the packer which gives inaccurate result. As such, multiple packers are adopted instead in which three sections of the drillhole are sealed up and water is pumped to them at equal pressure. This eliminates the tendency for water to flow around the packers from the middle section.


Hence, a more accurate result could be obtained by measuring flow from the middle section alone.

Illustration of multiple pack

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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