Dependency of flow and transport properties on aperture distributions and compression states
J.H.Y. Ma, Y.E. Li and A. Cheng
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 67, No 4, May 2019 pp. 900 - 912
Info: Article, PDF ( 15.11Mb )
Fluid conductivity and elastic properties in fractures depend on the aperture geometry – in particular, the roughness of fracture surfaces. In this study, we have characterized the surface roughness with a log-normal distribution and investigated the transport and flow behaviour of the fractures with varying roughness characteristics. Numerical flow and transport simulations have been performed on a single two-dimensional fracture surface, whose aperture geometry changes with different variances and correlation lengths in each realization. We have found that conventional measurement of hydraulic conductivity alone is insufficient to determine these two parameters. Transient transport measurements, such as the particle breakthrough time, provide additional constraints to the aperture distribution. Nonetheless, a unique solution to the fracture aperture distribution is still under-determined with both hydraulic conductivity and transport measurements. From numerical simulations at different compression states,we have found that the flow and transport measurements exhibit different rates of changes with respect to changes in compression. Therefore, the fracture aperture distribution could be further constrained by considering the flow and transport properties under various compression states.