Clustering, Connectivity and Flow Responses of Deterministic Fractal-Fracture Networks

Sahu, Ajay K.; Roy, Ankur

It is well known that fracture networks display self-similarity in many cases and the connectivity and flow behavior of such networks are influenced by their respective fractal dimensions. In the past, the concept of lacunarity, a parameter that quantifies spatial clustering, has been implemented by one of the authors in order to demonstrate that a set of seven nested natural fracture maps belonging to a single fractal system, but of different visual appearances, have different clustering attributes. Any scale-dependency in the clustering of fractures will also likely have significant implications for flow processes that depend on fracture connectivity. It is therefore important to address the question as to whether the fractal dimension alone serves as a reasonable proxy for the connectivity of a fractal-fracture network and hence, its flow response or, if it is the lacunarity, a measure of scale-dependent clustering, that may be used instead. The present study attempts to address this issue by exploring possible relationships between the fractal dimension, lacunarity and connectivity of fractal-fracture networks. It also endeavors to study the relationship between lacunarity and fluid flow in such fractal-fracture networks. A set of deterministic fractal-fracture models generated at different iterations and, that have the same theoretical fractal dimension are used for this purpose. The results indicate that such deterministic synthetic fractal-fracture networks with the same theoretical fractal dimension have differences in their connectivity and that the latter is fairly correlated with lacunarity. Additionally, the flow simulation results imply that lacunarity influences flow patterns in fracture networks. Therefore, it may be concluded that at least in synthetic fractal-fracture networks, rather than fractal dimension, it is the lacunarity or scale-dependent clustering attribute that controls the connectivity and hence the flow behavior.



Sahu, Ajay K. / Roy, Ankur: Clustering, Connectivity and Flow Responses of Deterministic Fractal-Fracture Networks. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Ajay K. Sahu

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