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Topology and hydraulic permeability estimation of explosively created fractures through regular cylindrical pore network models

Saba Gharehdash (School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia and School of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Bre-Anne Louise Sainsbury (School of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Milad Barzegar (Faculty of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran)
Igor B. Palymskiy (Department of Physics, Siberian State University of Telecommunications and Informatics, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation and Siberian State University of Geosystems and Technologies, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)
Pavel A. Fomin (Lavrentyev Institute of Hydrodynamics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation and Siberian State University of Geosystems and Technologies, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 7 January 2021

Issue publication date: 30 June 2021

230

Abstract

Purpose

This research study aims to develop regular cylindrical pore network models (RCPNMs) to calculate topology and geometry properties of explosively created fractures along with their resulting hydraulic permeability. The focus of the investigation is to define a method that generates a valid geometric and topologic representation from a computational modelling point of view for explosion-generated fractures in rocks. In particular, extraction of geometries from experimentally validated Eulerian smoothed particle hydrodynamics (ESPH) approach, to avoid restrictions for image-based computational methods.

Design/methodology/approach

Three-dimensional stabilized ESPH solution is required to model explosively created fracture networks, and the accuracy of developed ESPH is qualitatively and quantitatively examined against experimental observations for both peak detonation pressures and crack density estimations. SPH simulation domain is segmented to void and solid spaces using a graphical user interface, and the void space of blasted rocks is represented by a regular lattice of spherical pores connected by cylindrical throats. Results produced by the RCPNMs are compared to three pore network extraction algorithms. Thereby, once the accuracy of RCPNMs is confirmed, the absolute permeability of fracture networks is calculated.

Findings

The results obtained with RCPNMs method were compared with three pore network extraction algorithms and computational fluid dynamics method, achieving a more computational efficiency regarding to CPU cost and a better geometry and topology relationship identification, in all the cases studied. Furthermore, a reliable topology data that does not have image-based pore network limitations, and the effect of topological disorder on the computed absolute permeability is minor. However, further research is necessary to improve the interpretation of real pore systems for explosively created fracture networks.

Practical implications

Although only laboratory cylindrical rock specimens were tested in the computational examples, the developed approaches are applicable for field scale and complex pore network grids with arbitrary shapes.

Originality/value

It is often desirable to develop an integrated computational method for hydraulic conductivity of explosively created fracture networks which segmentation of fracture networks is not restricted to X-ray images, particularly when topologic and geometric modellings are the crucial parts. This research study provides insight to the reliable computational methods and pore network extraction algorithm selection processes, as well as defining a practical framework for generating reliable topological and geometrical data in a Eulerian SPH setting.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The first author would like to thank the University of Sydney for the USydIS Doctoral Scholarship Award. The authors are also grateful to the University of Toronto, in particular, Professor Bibhu Mohanty and his research group for their well-documented experimental data which helped the authors to validate the accuracy of the proposed methodologies.

Citation

Gharehdash, S., Sainsbury, B.-A.L., Barzegar, M., Palymskiy, I.B. and Fomin, P.A. (2021), "Topology and hydraulic permeability estimation of explosively created fractures through regular cylindrical pore network models", Engineering Computations, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 2312-2353. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-04-2020-0229

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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