Connectivity and the Continuum Approximation in Fracture Flow Modeling

by Daniel Billaux, ITASCA Consultants, Ecully, France,
Frédéric Guérin, ITASCA Consultants, Ecully, France,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


The continuum assumption is frequently made when modeling flow in fractured media. The approach presented in this paper helps evaluating the validity of such an assumption. Two indices are defined. The variability index IV represents the difference between a fracture network and the closest possible continuum. The connectivity index IC represents the geometrical connectivity of the system, IC can be computed easily knowing the statistical properties of the fractures. Numerical experiments have shown that a unique relationship between the two indices and the size of the system enables the assessment of the variability Index directly from the connectivity Index. The validity of the continuum approach can then be judged without resorting to costly fracture flow computations.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Waste disposal | Fluid flow | Mathematical models | Geometrics | Structural systems | Statistics | Numerical methods

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