On Two-Phase Relative Permeability and Capillary Pressure ofRough-Walled Rock Fractures

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This paper presents a conceptual and numerical model of multiphase flow in fractures. The void space of real rough-walled rock fractures is conceptualized as a two-dimensional heterogeneous porous medium, characterized by aperture as a function of position in the fracture plane. Portions of a fracture are occupied by wetting and nonwetting phase, respectively, according to local capillary pressure and accessibility criteria. Phase occupancy and permeability are derived by assuming a parallel-plate approximation for suitably small subregions in the fracture plane. For log-normal aperture distributions, a simple approximation to fracture capillary pressure is obtained in closed form; it is found to ... continued below

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Pruess, K. & Tsang, Y. W. September 1989.

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This paper presents a conceptual and numerical model of multiphase flow in fractures. The void space of real rough-walled rock fractures is conceptualized as a two-dimensional heterogeneous porous medium, characterized by aperture as a function of position in the fracture plane. Portions of a fracture are occupied by wetting and nonwetting phase, respectively, according to local capillary pressure and accessibility criteria. Phase occupancy and permeability are derived by assuming a parallel-plate approximation for suitably small subregions in the fracture plane. For log-normal aperture distributions, a simple approximation to fracture capillary pressure is obtained in closed form; it is found to resemble the typical shape of Leverett's j-function. Wetting and non-wetting phase relative permeabilities are calculated by numerically simulating single phase flows separately in the wetted and non-wetted pore spaces. Illustrative examples indicate that relative permeabilities depend sensitively on the nature and range of spatial correlation between apertures. It is also observed that interference between fluid phases flowing in a fracture tends to be strong, with the sum of wetting and nonwetting phase relative permeabilities being considerably less than 1 at intermediate saturations.

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43

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  • Journal Name: Water Resources Research; Journal Volume: 26; Journal Issue: 9; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 09/1990

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  • Report No.: LBL--27449
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 876711
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc880755

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  • September 1989

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Sept. 30, 2016, 12:28 p.m.

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Pruess, K. & Tsang, Y. W. On Two-Phase Relative Permeability and Capillary Pressure ofRough-Walled Rock Fractures, article, September 1989; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc880755/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.