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Numerical Study on the Effect of Fracture Characteristics on Flow and Solute Transport in a Fractured Medium

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This study simulates the effect of fracture characteristics on permeability, average linear velocity, breakthrough time, and megascopic dispersivity of a fractured medium. The authors use a power law for fracture length distribution and a fractional Brownian motion for hydraulic fracture aperture spatial distribution, which can be characterized by a and H, respectively. A new finite difference model is developed for solute transport that considers advection, adsorption, first-order decay, and scale-dependent dispersivity of a single fracture using a numerical dispersion term caused by finite difference approximation. The ranges of 1 . 4 ≤ a ≤ 2 . 2 and 0 . 1 ≤ H ≤ 0 . 9 are considered. The results show that the permeability is not very affected by a , but increases slightly with increasing H. The average linear velocity decreases with increasing a, but increases with increasing H. Both the breakthrough time and the megascopic dispersivity increase as a becomes larger, but decrease as H becomes larger. Finally, the megascopic dispersivity is proportional to the linear size of a medium by the power of , which increases from approximately 0.65 to 0.85 with increasing a, which shows the analogy of the fractured medium to a highly heterogeneous porous medium.
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Keywords: DISPERSIVITY; FRACTIONAL BROWNIAN MOTION; FRACTURE NETWORK; PERCOLATION; PERMEABILITY; POWER LAW; SOLUTE TRANSPORT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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