Study of Fractal Aperture Distribution and Flow in Fractures

by S. Kumar, Univ of California, United States,
R. W. Zimmerman, Univ of California, United States,
G. S. Bodvarsson, Univ of California, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1990


This study examines the roughness profiles and aperture distributions of fractures and faults by using concepts from fractal geometry. Simple models of flow of fluid in rough fractures are also discussed. A deterministic fractal representation of the roughness profile is presented which is shown to have many distinct advantages over other numerical methods, such as information compression, uniqueness and repeatability of surface simulation, retention of statistical information, and self-similarity over many scales. Also the fractal representation enables an isotropic surface and an aperture distribution to be simulated by examining a measured profile. Saturated fluid flow in fractures is then computed using a combined Navier-Stokes and Darcy equation.

Subject Headings: Flow distribution | Fractals | Cracking | Hydraulic fracturing | Numerical models | Radioactive wastes | Flow measurement | Fluid flow | Nevada | United States

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