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Title: Identifying Backbones in Three-Dimensional Discrete Fracture Networks: A Bipartite Graph-Based Approach

Journal Article · · Multiscale Modeling & Simulation
DOI:· OSTI ID:1489955

In this paper, we present a graph-based method to identify primary flow and transport sub-networks in three-dimensional discrete fracture networks (DFNs). The structure of a DFN lends itself to the use of graphs as a coarse-scale representation that retains the multiscale nature of flow and transport through fracture media. We develop a bipartite graph representation that integrates fracture network topology, fracture geometry, and hydraulic properties. We show that the two most common graph-representations of DFNs, vertices representing intersections and vertices representing fractures, are projections of this bipartite graph thereby providing a generalization of previous DFN-graph frameworks. The primary subnetworks in each DFN are identified by running a heuristic algorithm that determines the edge-disjoint shortest paths through the graph which correspond to the regions where the fastest transport occurs. The method does not have any user-defined parameters and terminates in a finite number of steps. The quality of the method is demonstrated by comparing transport simulations on the identified primary subnetwork and full network, which are in good agreement for early and middle times. In conclusion, these estimates of the first passage times can be achieved with close to an order of magnitude reduction of computational expense using the proposed method.

Research Organization:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Organization:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
Grant/Contract Number:
89233218CNA000001; AC52-06NA25396
Report Number(s):
Journal Information:
Multiscale Modeling & Simulation, Vol. 16, Issue 4; ISSN 1540-3459
SIAMCopyright Statement
Country of Publication:
United States
Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 27 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

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Cited By (4)

Robust system size reduction of discrete fracture networks: a multi-fidelity method that preserves transport characteristics journal September 2018
Characterizing the Impact of Fractured Caprock Heterogeneity on Supercritical CO$$_2$$ Injection journal November 2019
Minimum Hydraulic Resistance Uncertainty and the Development of a Connectivity‐Based Iterative Sampling Strategy journal July 2019
Model reduction for fractured porous media: a machine learning approach for identifying main flow pathways journal March 2019