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Relationship between the orientation of maximum permeability and intermediate principal stress in fractured rocks

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Title: Relationship between the orientation of maximum permeability and intermediate principal stress in fractured rocks
Authors: Lang, P
Paluszny Rodriguez, A
Morteza, N
Zimmerman, R
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Flow and transport properties of fractured rock masses are a function of geometrical structures across many scales. These structures result from physical processes and states and are highly anisotropic in nature. Fracture surfaces often tend to be shifted with respect to each other, which is generally a result of stress‐induced displacements. This shift controls the fracture's transmissivity through the pore space that forms from the created mismatch between the surfaces. This transmissivity is anisotropic and greater in the direction perpendicular to the displacement. A contact mechanics‐based, first‐principle numerical approach is developed to investigate the effects that this shear‐induced transmissivity anisotropy has on the overall permeability of a fractured rock mass. Deformation of the rock and contact between fracture surfaces is computed in three dimensions at two scales. At the rock mass scale, fractures are treated as planar discontinuities along which displacements and tractions are resolved. Contact between the individual rough fracture surfaces is solved for each fracture at the small scale to find the stiffness and transmissivity that result from shear‐induced dilation and elastic compression. Results show that, given isotropic fracture networks, the direction of maximum permeability of a fractured rock mass tends to be aligned with the direction of the intermediate principal stress. This reflects the fact that fractures have the most pronounced slip in the plane of the maximum and minimum principal stresses, and for individual fractures transmissivity is most pronounced in the direction perpendicular to this slip.
Issue Date: 1-Nov-2018
Date of Acceptance: 12-Oct-2018
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/65523
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018WR023189
ISSN: 0043-1397
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Start Page: 8734
End Page: 8755
Journal / Book Title: Water Resources Research
Volume: 54
Issue: 11
Copyright Statement: ©2018. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sponsor/Funder: Commission of the European Communities
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Tata Steel UK Ltd
Funder's Grant Number: 309067
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Water Resources
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Marine & Freshwater Biology
principal stress
0905 Civil Engineering
0907 Environmental Engineering
1402 Applied Economics
Environmental Engineering
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2018-10-19
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering

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