Abstract

There are multiple flow paths with different flow directions in fracture intersections. A general flow model synthetically describing the nonlinear flow behavior of multiple flow paths in different directions in two-dimensional fracture intersections was proposed for the analysis of fluid flow in rock fracture networks. Based on the flow simulations and experiments, regression functions in terms of each kind of geometric parameter were obtained to determine nonlinear coefficients. Through independent and comprehensive analysis, the quantitative relationships between the nonlinear coefficients of the fracture intersection flow model and multiple geometric parameters, such as the intersecting angle (θ), aperture (e), and roughness, were obtained. The parametric expressions of nonlinear flow models were verified by flow experiments of typical fracture intersections and simulated cases with complicated combinations of geometric parameters. It was proven that the parametric expressions of nonlinear flow models were capable of describing the nonlinear flow through fracture intersections. The results of this study show that fracture intersections have an obvious influence on the flow characteristics of different flow paths, which indicates that the influence of fracture intersections can enhance the hydraulic heterogeneity of fractured rock and need to be considered in the flow analysis of fracture networks.

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