School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

Postgraduate research

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Current and completed research by our postgraduate students.

Contact

Feng Ren

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 2446


Start date

Feb 2012

Submission date

Aug 2015

Feng Ren

Thesis

The Development Of Pipe Network Method For Multiphase Flow In Fractured Porous Media

Summary

This thesis aims to develop a conceptual simple and computational efficient numerical method to simulate multi-phase flow processes in the fractured rock masses. The specific targets are summarised as follows:

• To study the permeability anisotropy of the fractured rock masses by using the pipe network method.

o To develop the 2D pipe network method together with the stochastic fracture network generation tool.

o A refined anisotropy factor is proposed for quantitatively indicating the hydraulic anisotropy for the fractured rock masses.

o Permeability anisotropy is analysed for different fracture patterns. In addition, the proposed anisotropy fact is validated by the results of numerical simulation.

• To develop a free surface flow simulation method for water flow prediction in the fractured rock masses.

o The unconfined seepage simulation method for free surface flow in fractured rock masses is derived.

o The method is validated by examples with different geometries, material properties and draining conditions.

o The influence of the distribution of fractures on the water table is studied.

• To develop 2D and 3D pipe network method for the simulation of single-phase transient flow processes in the fractured rock masses.

o The pipe network method for simulation of single-phase transient flow process is derived.

o Flow processes in both fracture network and fractured porous medium are studied.

o Construction processes are simulated to study the hydraulic response in the fractured rock masses.

• To develop 2D and 3D pipe network method for the simulation of multiphase flow processes in the fractured rock masses.

o The pipe network method for multiphase flow in both fracture network and fractured porous medium is derived.

o The drainage process where a compressible non-wetting invading fluid displaces a wetting fluid is deliberately selected to show the feasibility of the pipe network method.

o Capillary pressure relations with different entry pressures for fracture and rock matrix are incorporated in the numerical scheme.

o Fully coupled and fully implicit numerical scheme is applied to avoid the possible small saturation step in the implicit pressure, explicit saturation scheme.

o CO2 injection into a geological saline formation is studied based on the equations of state for CO2.

Why my research is important

The fluid flow and mass transfer in the geological fractured rocks are very common yet important phenomena in natural environment, which closely relate to the applications of tunnelling, underground mining, oil and gas exploitation, CO2 geological sequestration and nuclear waste geological disposal etc. With the increasing of the rock engineering projects in those areas, the interests of fluid flow in the highly heterogeneous natural materials have been renewed in the recent decades.

The numerical simulation of the fluid flow in the fractured rock masses is a useful tool to predict the flow process and mass transport phenomena in geological rock formation. A successful numerical simulation can produce accurate and reliable results, which can be the replacement of the expensive and troublesome tests and experimental investigation. Accurate simulation of fluid flow in fractured rock masses is a quite challenging task. A versatile and robust numerical model is indispensable to accomplish the task. This study is mainly motivated by the challenge encountered in the field of rock hydraulics.


 

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