Double-porosity modelling of oscillatory gas motion and contaminant transport in a fractured porous medium

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Abstract

A double-porosity model is used to describe the oscillatory gas motion and associated contaminant transport induced by cyclical variations in the barometric pressure at the surface of a fractured porous medium. Flow along the fractures and within the permeable matrix blocks is locally one-dimensional. The interaction between fractures and blocks includes seepage of fluid as well as diffusion of contaminant. To guard against artificial numerical diffusion, the FRAM filtering remedy and methodology of Chapman is used in calculating the advective fluxes along fractures and within blocks. The entire system of equations, including the fracture-matrix interaction terms, is solved by a largely implicit non-iterative algorithm which remains stable and conservative even when the computational time step is large compared to the cross-block transit time of pressure waves. The numerical accuracy is tested by comparison with exact solutions for oscillatory and unidirectional flows, some of which include diffusion interaction between the fracture and the matrix. The method is used to estimate the rate of vertical transport of radioactive gases through the rubblized chimney produced by an underground nuclear explosion.

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