Influence of void space on microscopic behavior of fluid flow in rock joints



Publication Details

Zhang, Z., Nemcik, J., Ren, T. X. & Zhang, J. (2014). Influence of void space on microscopic behavior of fluid flow in rock joints. International Journal of Mining Science and Technology, 24 (3), 335-340.


Advanced microfluidic technology was used to examine the microscopic viscous and inertial effects evolution of water flow in rock joints. The influence of void space on fluid flow behaviour in rock joints under different flow velocities was experimentally investigated at the micro scale. Using advanced fabrication technology of microfluidic device, micro flow channels of semicircular, triangular, rectangular and pentagonal cavities were fabricated to simulate different void space of rock joints, respectively. Using the fluorescence labelling approach, the trajectory of water flow was captured by the microscope digital camera when it passed over the cavity under different flow velocities. The flow tests show that the flow trajectory deviated towards the inside of the cavity at low flow velocities. With the increase in flow velocity, this degree of flow trajectory deviation decreased until there was no trajectory deviation for flow in the straight parallel channel. The flow trajectory deviation initially reduced from the void corner near the entrance. At the same time, a small eddy appeared near the void corner of the entrance. The size and intensity of the eddy increased with the flow velocity until it occupied the whole cavity domain. The gradual reduction of flow trajectory near the straight parallel channel and the growth of eddy inside the cavity reflect the evolution of microscopic viscous and inertial forces under different flow velocities. The eddy formed inside the cavity does not contribute to the total flow flux, but the running of the eddy consumes flow energy. This amount of pressure loss due to voids could contribute to the nonlinear deviation of fracture fluid flow from Darcy's law. This study contributes to the fundamental understanding of non-Darcy's flow occurrence in rock joints at the micro scale. 2014.

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