The evolution of permeability in natural fractures - the competing roles of pressure solution and free-face dissolution

A. Polak, H. Yasuhara, D. Elsworth, J. Liu, A. Grader, P. Halleck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fracture permeabilities are shown surprisingly sensitive to mineral dissolution at modest temperatures (c. 20°-80°C) and flow rates. Net dissolution may either increase or decrease permeability, depending on the prevailing ambient THMC conditions. These behaviours have important ramifications for constitutive laws for flow and transport. Flow-through tests are completed on a natural fracture in novaculite at temperatures of 20°C, 80°C, 120°C, and 150°C, and on an artificial fracture in limestone at 20°C. Measurements of fluid and dissolved mass fluxes, concurrent X-ray CT and imaging, and post-test sectioning and SEM are used to constrain the progress of mineral dissolution and its effect on transport properties. For the novaculite, under constant effective stress, fracture permeability decreased monotonically with an increase in temperature, with fracture permeability reducing by two-orders-of-magnitude over the 900 h test. For the limestone, an initial decrease in permeability over the first 935h of the test, switched to a net increase in permeability as distilled water was subsequently circulated for the final 500h of the test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationElsevier Geo-Engineering Book Series
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Pages721-726
Number of pages6
EditionC
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Publication series

NameElsevier Geo-Engineering Book Series
NumberC
Volume2
ISSN (Print)1571-9960

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

Cite this

Polak, A., Yasuhara, H., Elsworth, D., Liu, J., Grader, A., & Halleck, P. (2004). The evolution of permeability in natural fractures - the competing roles of pressure solution and free-face dissolution. In Elsevier Geo-Engineering Book Series (C ed., pp. 721-726). (Elsevier Geo-Engineering Book Series; Vol. 2, No. C). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1571-9960(04)80124-1