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A numerical method for simulating fluid flow through 3-D fracture networks


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Title: A numerical method for simulating fluid flow through 3-D fracture networks
Authors: Huang, Na / Jiang, Yujing / Li, Bo / Liu, Richeng
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Citation: Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 33, pp.1271-1281; 2016
Abstract: Hydraulic property of fractured rock masses is commonly undertaken based on 2-D fracture network models, which are cut planes of the real 3-D models. This simplification would lead to a significant underestimation of fracture network permeability. In this study, a numerical procedure is originally developed to address flow problem through 3-D discrete fracture network (DFN) models. In this method, fractures are modeled as circular discs with arbitrary size, orientation and location. Fracture networks are established with fractures following well-known statistical distributions, after which the networks are triangulated and fluid flow is calculated by solving the Reynolds equation using Galerkin method. The results show that the permeability of 2-D DFN models that are cut from an original 3-D DFN model would be underestimated by 19.2 ∼ 43.6%, comparing with that of the 3-D DFN model. For networks that are consisted of power-law size-distributed fractures, the equivalent permeability would decrease exponentially with the increasing length distribution exponent. This tendency can be interpreted by incorporating the average intersection length, which is a parameter that can reflect the connectivity of a fracture network. When the heterogeneity of fracture aperture distribution is considered, some tortuous flow paths are formatted in 3-D fracture networks. The rougher fracture surface, the stronger anisotropy of aperture distribution, and thereby resulting in the larger reduction of the network permeability.
Keywords: Discrete fracture network / Flow simulation / Galerkin method / Permeability
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10069/37303
ISSN: 18755100
DOI: 10.1016/j.jngse.2016.06.072
Rights: © 2016 Elsevier B.V. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Type: Journal Article
Text Version: author
Appears in Collections:Articles in academic journal

Citable URI : http://hdl.handle.net/10069/37303

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