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The effect of scale on the morphology, mechanics and transmissivity of single rock fractures
KTH, Superseded Departments, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the effect of scale on themorphology, mechanics and transmissivity of single rockfractures using both laboratory and in-situ experiments, aswell as numerical simulations. Using a laboratory 3D laserscanner, the surface topography of a large silicon-rubberfracture replica of size 1m x 1m, as well as the topography ofboth surfaces of several high-strength concrete fracturereplicas varying in size from 50mmx50mm to 200mm x 200mm, werescanned. A geodetic Total Station and an in-situ 3D laser radarwere also utilized to scan the surface topography of a largenatural road-cut rock face of size 20m x 15m in the field. Thisdigital characterization of the fracture samples was then usedto investigate the scale dependency of the three dimensionalmorphology of the fractures using a fractal approach. Thefractal parameters of the surface roughness of all fracturesamples, including the geometrical aperture of the concretefracture samples, were obtained using the Roughness-Lengthmethod.

The results obtained from the fractal characterization ofthe surface roughness of the fracture samples show that bothfractal dimension, D, and amplitude parameter, A, for aself-affine surface are scale-dependent, heterogeneous andanisotropic, and their values generally decrease withincreasing size of the sample. However, this scale-dependencyis limited to a certain size¬ódefined as the stationaritythreshold, where the surface roughness parameters of thefracture samples remain essentially constant beyond thisstationarity threshold. The surface roughness and thegeometrical aperture of the tested concrete fracture replicasin this study did not reach stationarity due to the structuralnon-stationarity of their surface at small scales. Although theaperture histogram of the fractures was almost independent ofthe sample size, below their stationarity threshold both theHurst exponent, Hb, and aperture proportionality constant, Gb,decrease on increasing the sample sizes.

To investigate the scale effect on the mechanical propertiesof single rock fractures, several normal loading and directshear tests were performed on the concrete fracture replicassubjected to different normal stresses under Constant NormalLoad (CNL) conditions. The results showed that both normal andshear stiffnesses, as well as the shear strength parameters ofthe fracture samples, decrease on increasing the sample size.It was observed that the structural non-stationarity of surfaceroughness largely controls the contact areas and damage zoneson the fracture surfaces as related to the direction of theshearing.

The aperture maps of the concrete fracture replicas ofvarying size and at different shear displacements, obtainedfrom numerical simulation of the aperture evolution duringshearing using their digitized surfaces, were used toinvestigate the effect of scale on the transmissivity of thesingle rock fractures. A FEM code was utilized to numericallysimulate the fluid flow though the single rock fractures ofvarying size. The results showed that flow rate not onlyincreases on increasing the sample size, but also significantlyincreases in the direction perpendicular to the shearing, dueto the anisotropic roughness of the fractures.

Key words:Anisotropy, Aperture, Asperity degradation,Contact area, Finite Element Method (FEM), Flow analysis,Fractals, Fracture morphology, Heterogeneity,Stress-deformation, Surface roughness, Roughness-Length method,Scale dependency, Stationarity, Transmissivity, 3D laserscanner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Mark och vatten , 2003. , x, 156 p.
Keyword [en]
Anisotropy, Aperture, Asperity degradation, Contact area, Finite Element Method (FEM), Flow analysis, Fractals, Fracture morphology, Heterogeneity, Stress-deformation, Surface roughness, Roughness-Length method, Scale dependency, Stationarity, Transm
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3595ISBN: 91-7283-575-3OAI: diva2:9417
Public defence
NR 20140805Available from: 2003-09-16 Created: 2003-09-16Bibliographically approved

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