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Discrete element modeling of rock deformation, fracture network development and permeability evolution under hydraulic stimulation

Description: Key challenges associated with the EGS reservoir development include the ability to reliably predict hydraulic fracturing and the deformation of natural fractures as well as estimating permeability evolution of the fracture network with time. We have developed a physics-based rock deformation and fracture propagation simulator by coupling a discrete element model (DEM) for fracturing with a network flow model. In DEM model, solid rock is represented by a network of discrete elements (often referred as particles) connected by various types of mechanical bonds such as springs, elastic beams or bonds that have more complex properties (such as stress-dependent elastic constants). Fracturing is represented explicitly as broken bonds (microcracks), which form and coalesce into macroscopic fractures when external and internal load is applied. The natural fractures are represented by a series of connected line segments. Mechanical bonds that intersect with such line segments are removed from the DEM model. A network flow model using conjugate lattice to the DEM network is developed and coupled with the DEM. The fluid pressure gradient exerts forces on individual elements of the DEM network, which therefore deforms the mechanical bonds and breaks them if the deformation reaches a prescribed threshold value. Such deformation/fracturing in turn changes the permeability of the flow network, which again changes the evolution of fluid pressure, intimately coupling the two processes. The intimate coupling between fracturing/deformation of fracture networks and fluid flow makes the meso-scale DEM- network flow simulations necessary in order to accurately evaluate the permeability evolution, as these methods have substantial advantages over conventional continuum mechanical models of elastic rock deformation. The challenges that must be overcome to simulate EGS reservoir stimulation, preliminary results, progress to date and near future research directions and opportunities will be discussed. Methodology for coupling the DEM model with continuum flow and heat transport ...
Date: February 1, 2011
Creator: Deng, Shouchun; Podgorney, Robert & Huang, Hai
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: A comprehensive, high fidelity model for pebble flow has been developed and embodied in the PEBBLES computer code. In this paper, a description of the physical artifacts included in the model is presented and some results from using the computer code for predicting the features of pebble flow and packing in a realistic pebble bed reactor design are shown. The sensitivity of models to various physical parameters is also discussed.
Date: October 1, 2006
Creator: Cogliati, Joshua J. & Ougouag, Abderrafi M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Discrete Equation Method (DEM) for Fully Compressible Two-Phase Flows in Ducts of Spatially Varying Cross-Section

Description: Typically, multiphase modeling begins with an averaged (or homogenized) system of partial differential equations (traditionally ill-posed) then discretizes this system to form a numerical scheme. Assuming that the ill-posedness problem is avoided by using a well-posed formulation such as the seven-equation model, this presents problems for the numerical approximation of non-conservative terms at discontinuities (interfaces, shocks) as well as unwieldy treatment of fluxes with seven waves. To solve interface problems without conservation errors and to avoid this questionable determination of average variables and the numerical approximation of the non-conservative terms associated with 2 velocity mixture flows we employ a new homogenization method known as the Discrete Equations Method (DEM). Contrary to conventional methods, the averaged equations for the mixture are not used, and this method directly obtains a (well-posed) discrete equation system from the single-phase system to produce a numerical scheme which accurately computes fluxes for arbitrary numbers of phases and solves non-conservative products. The method effectively uses a sequence of single phase Riemann equation solves. Phase interactions are accounted for by Riemann solvers at each interface. Flow topology can change with changing expressions for the fluxes. Non-conservative terms are correctly approximated. Some of the closure relations missing from the traditional approach are automatically obtained. Lastly, we can often times identify the continuous equation system, resulting from taking the continuous limit with weak wave assumptions, of the discrete equations. This can be very useful from a theoretical standpoint. As a first step toward implict integration of the DEM method in multidimensions, in this paper we construct a DEM model for the flow of two compressible phases in 1-D ducts of spatially varying cross-section to test this approach. To relieve time step size restrictions due to stiffness and to achieve tighter coupling of equations, a fully implicit time integration method is ...
Date: July 1, 2009
Creator: Berry, Ray A.; Saurel, Richard & Grimmett, Tamara
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department