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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A numerical manifold method model for analyzing fully coupled hydro-mechanical processes in porous rock masses with discrete fractures

  • Author(s): Hu, M
  • Rutqvist, J
  • Wang, Y
  • et al.

© 2017 In this study, a numerical manifold method (NMM) model was developed for fully coupled analysis of hydro-mechanical (HM) processes in porous rock masses with discrete fractures. Using an NMM two-cover-mesh system of mathematical and physical covers, fractures are conveniently discretized by dividing the mathematical cover along fracture traces to physical cover, resulting in a discontinuous model on a non-conforming mesh. In this model, discrete fracture deformation (e.g. open and slip) and fracture fluid flow within a permeable and deformable porous rock matrix are rigorously considered. For porous rock, direct pore-volume coupling was modeled based on an energy-work scheme. For mechanical analysis of fractures, a fracture constitutive model for mechanically open states was introduced. For fluid flow in fractures, both along-fracture and normal-to-fracture fluid flow are modeled without introducing additional degrees of freedom. When the mechanical aperture of a fracture is changing, its hydraulic aperture and hydraulic conductivity is updated. At the same time, under the effect of coupled deformation and fluid flow, the contact state may dynamically change, and the corresponding contact constraint is updated each time step. Therefore, indirect coupling is realized under stringent considerations of coupled HM effects and fracture constitutive behavior transfer dynamically. To verify the new model, examples involving deformable porous media containing a single and two sets of fractures were designed, showing good accuracy. Last, the model was applied to analyze coupled HM behavior of fractured porous rock domains with complex fracture networks under effects of loading and injection.

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