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31.01.2018 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 5/2018

Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering 5/2018

Estimation of the REV Size and Equivalent Permeability Coefficient of Fractured Rock Masses with an Emphasis on Comparing the Radial and Unidirectional Flow Configurations

Zeitschrift:
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering > Ausgabe 5/2018
Autoren:
Zhechao Wang, Wei Li, Liping Bi, Liping Qiao, Richeng Liu, Jie Liu

Abstract

A method to estimate the representative elementary volume (REV) size for the permeability and equivalent permeability coefficient of rock mass with a radial flow configuration was developed. The estimations of the REV size and equivalent permeability for the rock mass around an underground oil storage facility using a radial flow configuration were compared with those using a unidirectional flow configuration. The REV sizes estimated using the unidirectional flow configuration are much higher than those estimated using the radial flow configuration. The equivalent permeability coefficient estimated using the radial flow configuration is unique, while those estimated using the unidirectional flow configuration depend on the boundary conditions and flow directions. The influences of the fracture trace length, spacing and gap on the REV size and equivalent permeability coefficient were investigated. The REV size for the permeability of fractured rock mass increases with increasing the mean trace length and fracture spacing. The influence of the fracture gap length on the REV size is insignificant. The equivalent permeability coefficient decreases with the fracture spacing, while the influences of the fracture trace length and gap length are not determinate. The applicability of the proposed method to the prediction of groundwater inflow into rock caverns was verified using the measured groundwater inflow into the facility. The permeability coefficient estimated using the radial flow configuration is more similar to the representative equivalent permeability coefficient than those estimated with different boundary conditions using the unidirectional flow configuration.

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