Small-Scale Behavior of Single Gravity-Driven Fingers in an Initially Dry Fracture

by M. J. Nicholl, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,
R. J. Glass, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,
H. A. Nguyen, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


Experiments investigating the behavior of individual, gravity-driven fingers in an initially dry, rough-walled analog fracture are presented. Fingers were initiated from constant flow to a point source. Finger structure is described in detail; specific phenomena observed include: desaturation behind the finger-tip, variation in finger path, intermittent flow structures, finger-tip bifurcation, and formation of dendritic sub-fingers. Measurements were made of finger-tip velocity, finger width, and finger-tip length. Non-dimensional forms of the measured variables are analyzed relative to the independent parameters, flow rate and gravitational gradient.

Subject Headings: Cracking | Flow measurement | Fluid flow | Groundwater flow | Analogs | Bifurcations | Parameters (statistics) | Geology

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