Numerical simulation of double-diffusion driven convective flow and rock alteration in three-dimensional fluid-saturated geological fault zones

Chongbin Zhao, B. E. Hobbs, A. Ord, M. Kühn, H. B. Mühlhaus, Shenglin Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerical methods are used to simulate the double-diffusion driven convective pore-fluid flow and rock alteration in three-dimensional fluid-saturated geological fault zones. The double diffusion is caused by a combination of both the positive upward temperature gradient and the positive downward salinity concentration gradient within a three-dimensional fluid-saturated geological fault zone, which is assumed to be more permeable than its surrounding rocks. In order to ensure the physical meaningfulness of the obtained numerical solutions, the numerical method used in this study is validated by a benchmark problem, for which the analytical solution to the critical Rayleigh number of the system is available. The theoretical value of the critical Rayleigh number of a three-dimensional fluid-saturated geological fault zone system can be used to judge whether or not the double-diffusion driven convective pore-fluid flow can take place within the system. After the possibility of triggering the double-diffusion driven convective pore-fluid flow is theoretically validated for the numerical model of a three-dimensional fluid-saturated geological fault zone system, the corresponding numerical solutions for the convective flow and temperature are directly coupled with a geochemical system. Through the numerical simulation of the coupled system between the convective fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transport and chemical reactions, we have investigated the effect of the double-diffusion driven convective pore-fluid flow on the rock alteration, which is the direct consequence of mineral redistribution due to its dissolution, transportation and precipitation, within the three-dimensional fluid-saturated geological fault zone system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2816-2840
Number of pages25
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Volume195
Issue number19-22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

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