Discrete Dilatant Pathway Modeling of Gas Migration Through Compacted Bentonite Clay
- Author(s): Kim, K
- Rutqvist, J
- Harrington, JF
- Tamayo-Mas, E
- Birkholzer, JT
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2020.104569
A coupled multiphase fluid flow and discrete fracturing model is applied to simulate bench-scale gas migration experiments on compacted bentonite. The numerical modeling is based on the linking of the multiphase fluid flow simulator TOUGH2 with a Rigid-Body-Spring Network model, which enables a discrete (lattice) representation of elasticity and individual fractures. The evolution of a complex network of dilatant flow paths is modeled through opening and breakage of lattice interface bonds between porous-elastic matrix elements. To achieve a good match with the experimental results, including an abrupt gas breakthrough along with pressure and stress responses, it was necessary to calibrate model parameters for (1) air-entry pressure, (2) shear and tensile failure of lattice interface bonds, (3) moisture swelling/shrinkage effects on stress, and (4) aperture-dependent permeability of dilatant flow paths. Our best-fit conceptual model considers a pervasive network of discrete flow paths propagating from the gas injection point, whereas some of the experimental data indicate the potential for heterogeneous and unstable flow paths.