Pore Network Extraction for Fractured Porous Media

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Although flow through fractured rocks involves many different length-scales, it is crucial for the prediction of continuum-scale single- and multi-phase flow functions to understand, at the pore-scale, the interaction between the rock matrix and fractures. Here we present a pore-network extraction method in which the pore diameters and fracture apertures are of similar size. The method involves a shrinking algorithm to extract a hybrid skeleton of medial axes and surfaces, and it includes a workflow to convert the medial surfaces of fractures into dense networks of virtual medial axes, allowing generation of an integrated pore-network for the entire pore space. Appropriate single- and two-phase flow properties are assigned to network elements representing the fractures. We validate the method via comparisons between pore network flow simulations and an analytical solution, direct flow simulations and experimental observations. The network calculations are several orders of magnitude faster than the direct simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-289
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


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