Single-phase and multi-phase fluid flow through an artificially induced, CT-scanned fracture

Goodarz Ahmadi, Zuleima Karpyn, Kambiz Nazridoust, Abraham S. Grader, Phillip M. Halleck, Ali R. Mazaheri, Duane H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single- and multi-phase flow through rock fractures occurs in various situations, such as transport of dissolved contaminants through geological strata, migration of dense non-aqueous phase liquids through fractured rocks, sequestration of carbon dioxide in brine-saturated strata, and oil recovery. The presence of fractures in a reservoir plays a major role in the fluid flow patterns and the fluids transport. In this study the Brazilian test technique was employed to induce an extensional fracture with dimensions of about 9.2 (cm)× 2.7 (cm)×0.77 (cm) in a layered Berea (calcite-cemented) sandstone sample. High-resolution X-ray micro-tomography (CT) imaging was used to determine the geometry of the fracture. A post-processing code was developed and used to computationally model the fracture geometry; Gambit was then used to generate an unstructured grid of about 1,000,000 cells. Single-phase and two-phase flow through the fracture were studied using FLUENT. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) model was employed for the case of two-phase flow. Flow patterns through the induced fracture were analyzed. In geological flow simulations, flow through fractures is often assumed to occur between parallel plates. The combination of CT imaging of real fractures and computational fluid dynamic simulations may contribute to a more realistic and accurate description of flow through fractured rocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopments in Water Science
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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