Development of unified pipe network method for multiphase fluid flow in fractured porous media

Feng Ren

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    489 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated] The fluid flow and mass transfer in geological rock formations are very important for applications, such as in tunnelling, underground mining, oil and gas exploitation, CO2 geological sequestration, and nuclear waste geological disposal etc. Due to the intrinsic heterogeneous characteristics of the rock masses, the accurate simulation of fluid flow in the rock masses is a challenging task. The presence of fractures in different scales and types, such as cracks, fissures, joints, faults and fault zones etc. in rocks, further complicates the situation. The rock masses not only behave heterogeneously but also anisotropically.

    The numerical simulations of the fluid flow in fractured rock masses are one of the effective ways to investigate the flow processes. For successful simulation, a versatile and robust numerical model is indispensable. However, the current numerical models still have many disadvantages in dealing with the fractured rock masses. Stimulated by the challenging tasks, our aim is to develop a conceptually simple and computationally efficient numerical model called a unified pipe network method (UPNM) to simulate different types of flow processes in the fractured rock masses, including steady flow, transient flow, unconfined flow, single-phase flow, and multi-phase flow.

    The concept of unified pipe network method has been proposed. The UPNM conceptually and computationally simplifies the seepage simulations in complex fracture networks and fractured porous media. The flow in both the rock matrix and the fractures has been equivalent to flow in matrix pipes and fracture pipes respectively. Their hydraulic properties have been derived. In addition, the coupling of those two pipe elements has been explained in detail. The conforming mesh method for the hybrid method, which is developed in our group has been presented. Massive 2D and 3D numerical examples have been carried out to validate the method. The case studies demonstrate the flexibility and feasibility of the proposed method.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - Aug 2015


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