Capillary Pressure-Saturation Relationships in Fracture

by Zitong Ye,
Bing Han,
Sishen Li,
Jiafa Zhang,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Understanding and quantifying unsaturated flow through fractures in rocky slope is important for design and construction of drainage system in large-scale hydraulic engineering. The data of the hysteretic relationship between capillary pressure and water saturation are primary for simulating unsaturated flow in fractures and analyzing the stability of high rocky slope. The drainage and imbibition curves are measured for a single fracture in granite sample got at construction site of the Thre Gorges Project (TGP). The method used in this study for measuring the capillary pressure-saturation relationship, under the conditions of no normal load to the rock sample, is generally following the laboratory technique developed by Reitsma and Kueper. A distinct entry pressure, indicating rise to initiate nonwetting phase invasion, was observed. The drainage curve is found to be well represented by van Genuchten porous media capillary pressure function.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic engineering | Drainage systems | Water pressure | Unsaturated flow | Hydraulic fracturing | Slopes | Laboratory tests

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