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A multiple fractal model for estimating permeability of dual-porosity media

Li, Bo, Liu, Richeng, Jiang, Yujing
Journal of hydrology 2016 v.540 pp. 659-669
fractal dimensions, hydrology, models, permeability
A multiple fractal model that considers the fractal properties of both porous matrices and fracture networks is proposed for the permeability of dual-porosity media embedded with randomly distributed fractures. In this model, the aperture distribution is verified to follow the fractal scaling law, and the porous matrix is assumed to comprise a bundle of tortuous capillaries that also follow the fractal scaling law. Analytical expressions for fractal aperture distribution, total flow rate, total equivalent permeability, and dimensionless permeability are established, where the dimensionless permeability is defined as the ratio of permeability of the porous matrices to that of the fracture networks. The dimensionless permeability is closely correlated to the structural parameters (i.e., α, θ, Dtf, Dtp, De, Dp, emax, λmax) of the dual-porosity media, and it is more sensitive to the fractal dimension for the size distribution of fracture aperture than to that for the size distribution of pore/capillary diameter. The maximum pore/capillary diameter has a greater impact on the dimensionless permeability than that of the maximum fracture aperture. The dimensionless permeability of fracture networks constructed by the fractal aperture distribution has close values with those of models with lognormal aperture distribution. The proposed multiple fractal model does not involve any empirical constants that do not have clear physical meanings, which could serve as a quick estimation method for assessing permeability of dual-porosity media.