- Journal Article
We investigate through numerical simulations of the Navier-Stokes equations the influence of the surface roughness on the fluid flow through fracture joints. Using the Hurst exponent H to characterize the roughness of the self-affine surfaces that constitute the fracture, our analysis reveals the important interplay between geometry and inertia on the flow. Precisely, for low values of Reynolds numbers, Re, we use Darcy's law to quantify the hydraulic resistance G of the fracture and show that its dependence on H can be explained in terms of a simple geometrical model for the geometric tortuosity of the channel. At sufficiently high values of Re, when inertial effects become relevant, our results reveal that nonlinear corrections up to third order to Darcy's law are approximately proportional to H. These results imply that the resistance G to the flow follows a universal behavior by simply rescaling it in terms of the fracture resistivity and using an effective Reynolds number, namely, Re/H. Our results also reveal the presence of quasi-one-dimensional channeling, even considering the absence of shear displacement between upper and lower surfaces of the self-affine fracture. Show more
Journal / seriesPhysical Review Fluids
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Physical Society
Organisational unit03798 - Kirchner, James W. / Kirchner, James W.
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