Chapter

The geometry of fracture networks

Pierre M. Adler, Jean-François Thovert and Valeri V. Mourzenko

in Fractured Porous Media

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199666515
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748639 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199666515.003.0003
The geometry of fracture networks

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This chapter deals with the geometry of random networks. The fractures are generally considered as plane objects such as polygons. The most important question relative to these networks is whether they percolate or not. In simple terms, can a Maxwell demon or the like go through the whole medium by walking on the fractures without any jump? The concept of percolation is detailed and applied to fracture networks in conjunction with the excluded volume. The dimensionless density is defined as the number of fractures per excluded volume and is shown to control percolation; this quantity is crucial since it plays a major role in the permeability of fracture networks and of fractured porous media as well. Then, the dimensionless density is estimated from data which can be measured along lines (wells, outcrops,...) or on surfaces (quarries, outcrops,...). This chapter ends with extensions such as fractures with power law size distributions and anisotropic orientations.

Keywords: fracture network; percolation; excluded volume; dimensionless density; power law size distributions; anisotropic orientations

Chapter.  14088 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Condensed Matter Physics

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