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A new particle-tracking approach to simulating transport in heterogeneous fractured porous media

Abstract : Particle-tracking methods are often used to model contaminant transport in fractured porous media because they are straightforward to implement for fracture networks and are able to take into account the matrix effect without mesh generation. While classical methods assume infinite matrix or regularly spaced fractures, we have developed a stochastic method adapted to solute transport in complex fracture networks associated with irregular matrix blocks. Diffusion times in the matrix blocks are truncated by the finite size of the blocks. High ratios of matrix diffusion to fracture advection, small fracture apertures, and small blocks favor the transfer of particles to nearby fractures through matrix diffusion. Because diffusion occurs on both sides of the originating fracture before particles reach one of the neighboring fractures, transfer times to both neighboring fractures are strongly affected by the network configurations on both sides of the fracture. This new particleƒ]tracking method is able to deal with complex fracture networks by considering heterogeneous configurations on both sides of the fracture. We finally show on simple Sierpinski lattice structures that neglecting the finite size of the matrix blocks may lead to orders of magnitude overestimations of the transfer times.
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Delphine Roubinet, Hui-Hai Liu, Jean-Raynald de Dreuzy. A new particle-tracking approach to simulating transport in heterogeneous fractured porous media. Water Resources Research, American Geophysical Union, 2010, 46 (11), pp.W11507. ⟨10.1029/2010WR009371⟩. ⟨insu-00610155⟩

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