Wetted-region structure in horizontal unsaturated fractures: Water entry through the surrounding porous matrix

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Description

Small-scale processes that influence wetted structure within the plane of a horizontal fracture as the fracture wets or drains through the matrix are investigated. Our approach integrates both aperture-scale modeling and physical experimentation. Several types of aperture-scale models have been defined and implemented. A series of physical experimental systems that allow us to measure wetted-region structure as a function of system parameters and water pressure head in analogue fractures also have been designed. In our preliminary proof-of-concept experiment, hysteresis is clearly evident in the measured saturation/pressure relation, as is the process of air entrapment, which causes a reduction in the ... continued below

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24 p.

Creation Information

Glass, R.J. & Norton, D.L. December 11, 1991.

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Authors

  • Glass, R.J. Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  • Norton, D.L. Arizona Univ., Tucson, AZ (United States). Dept. of Hydrology and Water Resources

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  • Sandia National Laboratories
    Publisher Info: Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)
    Place of Publication: Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Description

Small-scale processes that influence wetted structure within the plane of a horizontal fracture as the fracture wets or drains through the matrix are investigated. Our approach integrates both aperture-scale modeling and physical experimentation. Several types of aperture-scale models have been defined and implemented. A series of physical experimental systems that allow us to measure wetted-region structure as a function of system parameters and water pressure head in analogue fractures also have been designed. In our preliminary proof-of-concept experiment, hysteresis is clearly evident in the measured saturation/pressure relation, as is the process of air entrapment, which causes a reduction in the connected areas between blocks and the wetted region available for flow in the plane of the fracture. A percolation threshold where the system is quickly spanned, allowing fluid conduction in the fracture plane, is observed which is analogous to that found in the aperture-scale models. A fractal wetted and entrapped-region structure is suggested by both experiment and modeling. This structure implies that flow tortuosity for both flow in the fracture and for inter-block fluid transfer is a scale-dependent function of pressure head.

Physical Description

24 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE92005180

Source

  • Other Information: PBD: 11 Dec 1991

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  • Other: DE92005180
  • Report No.: SAND--91-2030C
  • Grant Number: AC04-76DP00789
  • DOI: 10.2172/138298 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 138298
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc624830

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Creation Date

  • December 11, 1991

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • April 14, 2016, 2:21 p.m.

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Glass, R.J. & Norton, D.L. Wetted-region structure in horizontal unsaturated fractures: Water entry through the surrounding porous matrix, report, December 11, 1991; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc624830/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.