Water uptake in parallel fractures

Junjie Wang, Xingyu Zhu, Yixin Pan, Jisheng Kou, Shuyu Sun

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Water uptake in rock fractures caused by rainfall plays a significant role in slope stability analysis. Since the fracture network system has complicated structures and multiple scales, the models based on the averaged system cannot account for these properties. On the other hand, a model describing a single fracture with fractal characteristics and surface roughness fails to deal with the case of multiple fractures at spatial scales. In this study, a fracture-network model is established to account for the complex structures and multiple scales of fractures. By considering the connectivity between fractures and the limited area of aquifer, capillary pressure formulations in different fractures are derived based on the Young-Laplace equation, and the final water level under specific rainfall conditions is also obtained. The cross-section shapes and exhaust conditions of rainwater infiltration have important influences on the final water level. The results indicate that the final water level is proportional to the ratio of perimeter to cross-section area when the fracture is a cylinder, and a circular pipe can reduce water level elevation in the fracture system.

Cited as: Wang, J., Zhu, X., Pan, Y., Kou, J., Sun, S. Water uptake in parallel fractures. Capillarity, 2021, 4(1): 1-12, doi: 10.46690/capi.2021.01.01


Two-phase flow; capillary pressure; rainfall intensity; groundwater; fracture network

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