Scale and Stress Effects on Hydro-Mechanical Properties of Fractured Rock Masses
Sammanfattning: In this thesis, the effects of size and stress on permeability, deformability and strength of fractured rock masses are investigated. A comparison study was carried out to examine the effects of considering, or not considering, the correlation between distributions of fracture apertures and fracture trace lengths on the hydro-mechanical behavior of fractured rocks. The basic concepts used are the fundamental principles of the general theory of elasticity, Representative Elementary Volume (REV), the tensor of equivalent permeability, and the strength criteria of the fractured rocks.Due to the size and stress dependence of the hydro-mechanical properties of rock fractures, the overall effective (or equivalent) hydro-mechanical properties of the fractured rocks are also size and stress-dependent. However, such dependence cannot be readily investigated in laboratory using small samples, and so numerical modeling becomes a necessary tool for estimating their impacts. In this study, a closed-form relation is established for representing the correlation between a truncated lognormal distribution of fracture apertures and a truncated power law distribution of trace lengths, as obtained from field mapping. Furthermore, a new nonlinear algorithm is developed for predicting the relationship between normal stress and normal displacement of fractures, based on the Bandis model and the correlation between aperture and length.A large number of stochastic Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) models of varying sizes were extracted from some generated large-sized parent realizations based on a realistic fracture system description from a site investigation programme at Sellafield, UK, for calculating the REV of hydro-mechanical properties of fractured rocks. Rotated DFN models were also generated and used for evaluation of the distributions of directional permeabilities, such that tensors of equivalent permeability could be established based on stochastically established REVs. The stress-dependence of the permeability and the stress-displacement behaviour were then investigated using models of REV sizes. The Discrete Element Method (DEM) was used for numerical simulation of the fluid flow, deformability properties and mechanical strength behavior of fractured rocks.The results show significant scale-dependency of rock permeability, deformability and strength, and its variation when the correlation between aperture and trace length of fractures are concerned, with the overall permeability and deformability more controlled by dominating fractures with larger apertures and higher transmissivity and deformability, compared with fracture network models having uniform aperture. As the second moment of aperture distribution increases, a fractured rock mass shows more discrete behavior and an REV is established in smaller value of second moment with much larger model size, compared with the models with uniform fracture aperture. When the fracture aperture pattern is more scattered, the overall permeability, Young’s modulus and mechanical strength change significantly.The effect of stress on permeability and fluid flow patterns in fractured rock is significant and can lead to the existence or non-existence of a permeability tensor. Stress changes the fluid flow patterns and can cause significant channeling and the permeability tensor, and REV may be destroyed or re-established at different applied stress conditions. With an increase in the confining stress on the DEM models, the strength is increased. Compared with the Hoek-Brown criterion, the Mohr-Coulomb strength envelope provides a better fit to the results of numerical biaxial compression tests, with significant changes of the strength characteristic parameters occurring when the second moment of the aperture distribution is increased.
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