Models of tracer breakthrough and permeability in simple fractured porous media
Published:January 01, 2005
P. B. Johnston, T. C. Atkinson, N. E. Odling, J. A. Barker, 2005. "Models of tracer breakthrough and permeability in simple fractured porous media", Understanding the Micro to Macro Behaviour of Rock–Fluid Systems, R. P. Shaw
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Tailing and bimodal behaviour of tracer breakthrough curves from tracer tests conducted in fractured porous media are commonly presented as ‘deviations’ from the Fickian model for homogeneous porous media. Tailing is mainly attributed to: (1) tracer storage brought about by diffusion between mobile and static regions of fluid; (2) a concentration of flow towards the wider (aperture) and, thus, more permeable fracture zones; and (3) the high variance in fracture conductivity and consequent mixing of tracer. Bi- (or multi-) modality has been attributed to solute following a few highly permeable flow paths. Systematic numerical simulations of flow and transport in geometrically simple fractured porous media were conducted using a 2D finite difference flow code and a particle tracking transport model. As a simplification only advective dispersion was considered. The modelling study produced a large variety of tracer breakthrough curves, including two patterns commonly seen in field data — the backward tailed uni-modal type and the Gaussian type. The study demonstrates that different types of breakthrough might be characteristic of particular sets of conceptual models for heterogeneities and, as such, may provide a useful pointer in the application and interpretation of tracer tests.
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Understanding the Micro to Macro Behaviour of Rock–Fluid Systems
Understanding how fluids flow through though rocks is very important in a number of fields. Almost all of the world's oil and gas are produced from underground reservoirs. Knowledge of how they got where they are, what keeps them there and how they migrate through the rock is very important in the search for new resources, as well as for maximising the extraction of as much of the contained oil/gas as possible. Similar understanding is important for managing groundwater resources and for predicting how hazardous or radioactive waste or carbon dioxide will behave if stored or disposed of underground. Unravelling the complex behaviour of fluids as they flow through rock is difficult, but important. We cannot see through rock, so we need to predict how and where fluids flow. Understanding the type of rock, its porosity, the character and pattern of fractures within it and how fluids flows through it are important. Some contributors to this volume have been trying to understand real rocks in real situations and others have been working on computer models and laboratory simulations. Put together, these approaches have yielded very useful results, many of which are discussed in this volume.