Hydrologic mechanisms governing fluid flow in partially saturated, fractured, porous tuff at Yucca Mountain

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In contrast to the saturated zone where fluid moves rapidly along fractures, the fractures (with apertures large relative to the size of matrix pores) will desaturate first during drainage process and the bulk of fluid flow would be through interconnected pores in the matrix. Within a partially drained fracture, the presence of a relatively continuous air phase will produce practically an infinite resistance to liquid flow in the direction parallel to the fracture. The residual liquid will be held by capillary force in regions around fracture contact areas where the apertures are small. Normal to the fracture surfaces, the drained ... continued below

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58 p.

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Wang, J.S.Y. & Narasimhan, T.N. October 1, 1984.

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Description

In contrast to the saturated zone where fluid moves rapidly along fractures, the fractures (with apertures large relative to the size of matrix pores) will desaturate first during drainage process and the bulk of fluid flow would be through interconnected pores in the matrix. Within a partially drained fracture, the presence of a relatively continuous air phase will produce practically an infinite resistance to liquid flow in the direction parallel to the fracture. The residual liquid will be held by capillary force in regions around fracture contact areas where the apertures are small. Normal to the fracture surfaces, the drained portion of the fractures will reduce the effective area for liquid flow from one matrix block to another matrix block. A general statistical theory is constructed for flow along the fracture and for flow between the matrix blocks to the fractures under partially saturated conditions. Results are obtained from an aperture distribution model for fracture saturation, hydraulic conductivity, and effective matrix-fracture flow areas as functions of pressure. Drainage from a fractured tuff column is simulated. The parameters for the simulations are deduced from fracture surface characteristics, spacings and orientations based on core analyses, and from matrix characteristics curve based on laboratory measurements. From the cases simulated for the fractured, porous column with discrete vertical and horizontal fractures and porous matrix blocks explicitly taken into account, it is observed that the highly transient changes from fully saturated conditions to partially saturated conditions are extremely sensitive to the fracture properties. However, the quasi-steady changes of the fluid flow of a partially saturated, fractured, porous system could be approximately simulated without taking the fractures into account. 22 references, 16 figures.

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58 p.

Notes

NTIS, PC A04/MF A01; OSTI as DE85004445

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  • Other Information: PBD: Oct 1984

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  • Other: DE85004445
  • Report No.: LBL--18473
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/59988 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 59988
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc698896

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  • October 1, 1984

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • April 5, 2016, 10:05 a.m.

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Wang, J.S.Y. & Narasimhan, T.N. Hydrologic mechanisms governing fluid flow in partially saturated, fractured, porous tuff at Yucca Mountain, report, October 1, 1984; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc698896/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.