Rock fracture modelling
Fractures and fracture networks are critical to fluid flow and contaminant transport through rock masses, especially those at significant depths in the subsurface of the Earth. Rock fractures may be naturally occurring under a predominant stress regime in the rock, or may be engineered to produce a desired network structure for particular applications.
Engineering applications dependent on fractures and fracture networks include hot dry rock enhanced geothermal energy systems in which artificial reservoirs must be created by fracture stimulation to enable the geothermal fluid flow; underground repositories for the safe storage and disposal of hazardous wastes for which potential contaminant transport through surrounding natural fractures must be quantified; underground water transport through aquifers; and movement of oil and gas in hydrocarbon reservoirs. The engineering of fracture networks is also fundamental to the extraction of natural gas from unconventional reservoirs.
Case studies of some of our research impacts are the following:
The research team working in this area includes: