An experimental setup to investigate fluid flow through single fractures

Pinnaduwa Kulatilake, R. Morgan, J. Um

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Modeling of fluid flow is important in geological, petroleum, environmental, civil and mining engineering. Fluid flow through jointed hard rock is very much dependent on the fracture network pattern in the rock mass and on the flow behavior through these fractures. Flow behavior through a single fracture depends on the spatial distribution of the aperture including their connectivity, the contact area distribution of the fracture and fluid properties. The aperture and the contact area distributions of a fracture depend on the stress system acting on the joint. This research deals with fluid flow behavior through single joints subjected to normal stresses. The features of the built equipment and various phases of the laboratory experimental program are described in the paper. The initial test results obtained between applied normal stress and fracture closure for a natural rock joint indicate the built equipment works very well in obtaining normal stress versus fracture closure measurements. Fluid flow tests performed for the same rock joint under different normal stresses proved that the built fluid flow experimental system performs very well. Spatial distribution of aperture calculated at different normal stresses using rock joint surface height measurements obtained through a laser profilometer with and without silicon rubber injection to the same rock joint showed that the experimental procedure developed to estimate the spatial distribution of aperture of a rock joint works well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDC Rocks 2001 - 38th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics (USRMS)
Editors Elsworth, Tinucci, Heasley
PublisherAmerican Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA)
Pages655-662
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9026518277, 9789026518270
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Event38th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, DC Rocks 2001 - Washington, United States
Duration: Jul 7 2001Jul 10 2001

Other

Other38th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, DC Rocks 2001
CountryUnited States
CityWashington
Period7/7/017/10/01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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  • Cite this

    Kulatilake, P., Morgan, R., & Um, J. (2001). An experimental setup to investigate fluid flow through single fractures. In Elsworth, Tinucci, & Heasley (Eds.), DC Rocks 2001 - 38th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics (USRMS) (pp. 655-662). American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA).