In order to measure permeabilities of small volcanic eruptive materials and experimental run products, we developed a new simple permeameter to measure gas permeabilities of millimeter-size samples. This permeameter can measure permeability in the wide range from 10-17 to 10-10 m2 with the precision within one order of magnitude. Nitrogen gas is used as a working gas. The permeability is calculated by using Darcy's law applied to results of steady state gas flow measurement at fixed pressure differences up to 1.5 x 104 Pa (ca. 0.15 atm). The pressure difference is measured with the precision of 10 Pa by a water column manometer. Gas flow rate is converted to water flow rate in an acrylic container and the water flow dripping from the container through the tube into a flask is monitored by an electric balance.

We confirmed the accuracy in permeability measurement by measuring gas flow in a stainless capillary tube (15 mm in length and 100 μm in inner diameter). We carried out flow measurement withth e pressure difference of 1.2 x 102 to 1.4 x 104 Pa at the flow rate of 3.5 x 10-10 to 3.9x 10-8 m3/s. Measured gas flow rate was compared with calculated flow rate, assuming that the gas flow in the capillary tube is Poiseuille flow. Although the difference between them becomes large for smaller flow rate than 10-9 m3, the discrepancy is within 0.25 log unit for the flow rate larger than 10-10 m3/s. Permeabilities of centimeter-size, four air-fall pumice and scoria measured by this permeameter are consistent with the permeability-vesicularity relationship obtained from pyroclastic materials by Klug and Cashman (1996).

We measured permeabilities of nine samples of porous ceramics withvarying dimensions from 1.3 to 8.3 mm in length and from 5 to 78 mm2 in cross sectional area, which were cut from a homogeneous ceramic rod. Permeabilities of millimeter-size samples are consistent with those of ca. 1 centimeter-size samples, indicating that this permeameter can determine permeability for the millimeter-size samples.

The permeameter can be easily assembled with commercially available components at a very low cost, and will be a useful tool to measure permeabilities of small volcanic eruptive materials and experimental run products.

Key words:
gas permeameter, permeability measurement, degassing, vesiculation