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Title: Dispersion and Mixing in Three-Dimensional Discrete Fracture Networks: Nonlinear Interplay Between Structural and Hydraulic Heterogeneity: DISPERSION AND MIXING-REGULAR VERSUS DISORDERED NETWORKS

We investigate the relative impact of topological, geometric, and hydraulic heterogeneity on transport processes in three-dimensional fracture networks. Focusing on the two largest scales of heterogeneity in these systems, individual fracture and network structure, we compare transport through analogous structured and disordered three-dimensional fracture networks with varying degrees of hydraulic heterogeneity. For the moderate levels of hydraulic heterogeneity we consider, network structure is the dominant control of transport through the networks. Less dispersion, both longitudinal and transverse, is observed in structured networks than in disordered networks, due in part to the higher connectivity in the former, independent of the level of hydraulic heterogeneity. However, increases in dispersion with higher hydraulic heterogeneity are larger in the disordered networks than in the structured networks, thereby indicating that the interplay between structural and hydraulic heterogeneity is nonlinear. Here, we propose a measure of disorder in fracture networks by computing the Shannon entropy of the spectrum of the Laplacian of a weighted graph representation of the networks, where the weights are given by a combination of topological, geometric, and hydraulic properties. Finally, this metric, as a relative indicator by comparison between two networks, is a first approach to the dispersion potential and “mixing capacity”more » of a fracture network.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Swiss Federal Inst. of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dubendorf (Switzerland); Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland). Dept. of Civil,Environmental and Geomatic Engineering; Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; 20150763PRD4
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; Earth Sciences; discrete fracture networks; porous media; dispersion; mixing fractures
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1436193