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Flow and Transport in Three-Dimensional Discrete Fracture Matrix Models using Mimetic Finite Difference on a Conforming Multi-Dimensional Mesh

by   Jeffrey D. Hyman, et al.
Los Alamos National Laboratory

We present a comprehensive workflow to simulate single-phase flow and transport in fractured porous media using the discrete fracture matrix approach. The workflow has three primary parts: (1) a method for conforming mesh generation of and around a three-dimensional fracture network, (2) the discretization of the governing equations using a second-order mimetic finite difference method, and (3) implementation of numerical methods for high-performance computing environments. A method to create a conforming Delaunay tetrahedralization of the volume surrounding the fracture network, where the triangular cells of the fracture mesh are faces in the volume mesh, that addresses pathological cases which commonly arise and degrade mesh quality is also provided. Our open-source subsurface simulator uses a hierarchy of process kernels (one kernel per physical process) that allows for both strong and weak coupling of the fracture and matrix domains. We provide verification tests based on analytic solutions for flow and transport, as well as numerical convergence. We also provide multiple expositions of the method in complex fracture networks. In the first example, we demonstrate that the method is robust by considering two scenarios where the fracture network acts as a barrier to flow, as the primary pathway, or offers the same resistance as the surrounding matrix. In the second test, flow and transport through a three-dimensional stochastically generated network containing 257 fractures is presented.


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