Title: Single-phase lattice Boltzmann simulations of pore-scale flow in fractured permeable media

Authors: Christopher J. Landry; Zuleima T. Karpyn

Addresses: John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 228 Hosler Building, University Park PA, 16802, USA. ' John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, and EMS Energy Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, 151 Hosler Bldg., University Park, PA 16802, USA

Abstract: The objective of this work is to investigate fracture flow characteristics at the pore-scale, and evaluate the influence of the adjacent permeable matrix on the fracture's permeability. We use X-ray computed microtomography to produce three-dimensional images of a fracture in a permeable medium. These images are processed and directly translated into lattices for single-phase lattice Boltzmann simulations. Three flow simulations are presented for the imaged volume, a simulation of the pore space, the fracture alone and the matrix alone. We show that the fracture permeability increases by a factor of 15.1 due to bypassing of fracture choke points through the matrix pore space. In addition, pore-scale matrix velocities were found to follow a logarithmic function of the distance from the fracture. Finally, our results are compared against previously proposed methods of estimating fracture permeability from fracture roughness, tortuosity, aperture distribution and matrix permeability. [Received: April 28, 2011; Accepted: July 29, 2011]

Keywords: pore scale modelling; fracture permeability; fractures; fractured porous media; lattice Boltzmann; X-ray computed microtomography; fluid flow; simulation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJOGCT.2012.046320

International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology, 2012 Vol.5 No.2/3, pp.182 - 206

Published online: 03 Apr 2012 *

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