Permeability and Dispersivity of Variable-Aperture Fracture Systems

by Y. W. Tsang, Univ of California, United States,
C. F. Tsang, Univ of California, United States,

Abstract: A number of recent experiments have pointed out the need of including the effects of aperture variation within each fracture in predicting flow and transport properties of fractured media. This paper introduces a new approach in which medium properties, such as the permeability to flow and dispersivity in tracer transport, are correlated to only three statistical parameters describing the fracture aperture probability distribution and the aperture spatial correlation. We demonstrate how saturated permeability and relative permeabilities for flow, as well as dispersion for solute transport in fractures may be calculated. We are in the process of examining the applicability of these concepts to field problems. Results from the evaluation and analysis of the recent Stripa-3D field data are presented.

Subject Headings: Cracking | Field tests | Flow distribution | Parameters (statistics) | Probability | Probability distribution | Radioactive wastes | Fluid flow

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