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01.06.2015 | Thematic Issue | Ausgabe 11/2015

Environmental Earth Sciences 11/2015

Numerical investigation of geometrical and hydraulic properties in a single rock fracture during shear displacement with the Navier–Stokes equations

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 11/2015
Autoren:
L. Z. Xie, C. Gao, L. Ren, C. B. Li

Abstract

Extensive research has shown that fluid flow through rock fractures is greatly influenced by surface roughness. For a single rock fracture, the roughness of the upper and bottom surfaces is the same in the initial condition and then its deformation occurs with normal stress and shear stress imposed on the natural rock. Previous researchers have paid considerable attention to describing the roughness of the single fracture and its effects on fluid flow. However, few studies have explained the fluid flow with shear displacement and the direction of the fluid flow velocity field. In this work, a more detailed 2D numerical model was developed using a laser scanner system with a spacing grid of 0.1 mm. To investigate the influence of shear displacement accurately, the COMSOL multiphase codes were applied. By applying the Navier–Stokes equations, the results of the procedure for shear displacement simulation illustrate the distribution of the absolute velocity and pressure drop under the constant pressure gradient. The velocities predicted at the vertical profiles of the inlet were similar to the parabolic velocity curve defined by the cubic laws. The mean mechanical aperture was usually larger than the hydraulic aperture from the measured flow rates, and a devised empirical equation was proposed to describe the relationship between the mechanical aperture and the hydraulic aperture values. The recirculation zones observed in directional fluid flow during shear explain the anisotropy of roughness of a single fracture, and the phenomenon argues the applicability of local cubic laws which overestimate the total fluid flow rate.

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