Numerical modelling of fluid flow tests in a rock fracture with a special algorithm for contact areas
2009 (English)In: Computers and geotechnics, ISSN 0266-352X, Vol. 36, no 1-2, 291-303 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The fluid flow in rock fractures during shear processes has been all important issue in rock mechanics and is investigated in this paper using finite element method (FEM), considering evolutions of aperture and transmissivity with shear displacement histories under different normal stress and normal stiffness conditions as measured during laboratory coupled shear-flow tests. The distributions of fracture aperture and its evolution during shearing were calculated from the initial aperture, based on the laser-scanned sample surface roughness results, and shear dilations measured in the laboratory tests. Three normal loading conditions were adopted in the tests: simple normal stress and mixed normal stress and normal stiffness to reflect more realistic in situ conditions. A special algorithm for treatment of the contact areas as zero-aperture elements was used to produce more accurate flow field simulations, which is important for continued simulations of particle transport but often not properly treated in literature. The simulation results agree well with the measured hydraulic apertures and flow rate data obtained from the laboratory tests, showing that complex histories of fracture aperture and tortuous flow fields with changing normal loading conditions and increasing shear displacements. With the new algorithm for contact areas, the tortuous flow fields and channeling effects under normal stress/stiffness conditions during shearing were more realistically captured, which is not possible if traditional techniques by assuming very small aperture values for the contact areas were used. These findings have an important impact on the interpretation of the results of coupled hydro-mechanical experiments of rock fractures, and on more realistic simulations of particle transport processes in fractured rocks.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 36, no 1-2, 291-303 p.
Rock fractures, Coupled stress-flow tests, Shear displacement, Normal, loading, Contact areas, Finite element method (FEM), hydromechanical behavior, surface-roughness, single fracture, joints, permeability, aperture, transport, apparatus, evolution
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18085DOI: 10.1016/j.compgeo.2008.02.010ISI: 000262249700026ScopusID: 2-s2.0-56949094161OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-18085DiVA: diva2:336131
QC 201005252010-08-052010-08-052011-01-31Bibliographically approved