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Macro-permeability distribution and anisotropy in a 3D fissured and fractured clay rock: ‘Excavation Damaged Zone’ around a cylindrical drift in Callovo-Oxfordian Argilite (Bure).

Ababou, Rachid and Canamon Valera, Israel and Poutrel, Adrien Macro-permeability distribution and anisotropy in a 3D fissured and fractured clay rock: ‘Excavation Damaged Zone’ around a cylindrical drift in Callovo-Oxfordian Argilite (Bure). (2011) Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, vol. 36 (n° 17-18). pp. 1932-1948. ISSN 1474-7065

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pce.2011.07.032


The Underground Research Laboratory at Bure (CMHM), operated by ANDRA, the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency, was developed for studying the disposal of radioactive waste in a deep clayey geologic repository. It comprises a network of underground galleries in a 130 m thick layer of Callovo Oxfordian clay rock (depths 400–600 m). This work focuses on hydraulic homogenization (permeability upscaling) of the Excavation Damaged Zone (EDZ) around a cylindrical drift, taking into account: (1) the permeability of the intact porous rock matrix; (2) the geometric structure of micro-fissures and small fractures synthesized as a statistical set of planar discs; (3) the curved shapes of large ‘chevron’ fractures induced by excavation (periodically distributed). The method used for hydraulic homogenization (upscaling) of the 3D porous and fractured rock is based on a ‘frozen gradient’ superposition of individual fluxes pertaining to each fracture/matrix block, or ‘unit block’. Each unit block comprises a prismatic block of permeable matrix (intact rock) obeying Darcy’s law, crossed by a single piece of planar fracture obeying either Darcy or Poiseuille law. Polygonal as well as disc shaped fractures are accommodated. The result of upscaling is a tensorial Darcy law, with macro-permeability Kij(x) distributed over a grid of upscaling sub-domains, or ‘voxels’. Alternatively, Kij(x) can be calculated point-wise using a moving window, e.g., for obtaining permeability profiles along ‘numerical’ boreholes. Because the permeable matrix is taken into account, the upscaling procedure can be implemented sequentially, as we do here: first, we embed the statistical fissures in the matrix, and secondly, we embed the large curved chevron fractures. The results of hydraulic upscaling are expressed first in terms of ‘equivalent’ macro-permeability tensors, Kij(x,y,z) distributed around the drift. The statistically isotropic fissures are considered, first, without chevron fractures. There are 10,000 randomly isotropic fissures distributed over a 20 m stretch of drift. The resulting spatially distributed K ij tensor is nearly isotropic (as expected). At the scale of the whole EDZ, the global K FISSURES is roughly 5000 times larger than permeability matrix KM. The detailed distribution of the equivalent K FISSURES (x, y, z) defined on a grid of voxels is radially inhomogeneous, like the statistics of the disc fissures. In addition, a moving window procedure is used to compute detailed radial profiles of K FISSURES versus distance (r) to drift wall, and the results compare favorably with in situ permeability profiles (numerical vs. experimental boreholes at Bure’s GMR drift). Finally, including the large curved chevron fractures in addition to the random fissures, the resulting K ij (x, y, z) appears strongly anisotropic locally. Its principal directions are spatially variable, and they tend to be aligned with the tangent planes of the chevron fracture surfaces. The global equivalent Kij of the whole EDZ is also obtained: it is only weakly anisotropic, much less so than the local Kij’s. However, because of the radially divergent structure of the ‘chevrons’ (although not quite cylindrical in geometry), it is recognized that the global Kij due to chevrons lacks physical meaning as a tensor. Considering only the magnitude, it is found that the permeability due to ‘chevrons’ (K CHEVRONS ) is about 4 orders of magnitude larger than that due to statistical fissures (K FISSURES ), assuming a hydraulic aperture a CHEVRON = 100 microns. By a simple argument, K CHEVRONS would be only one order of magnitude larger than K FISSURES with the choice a CHEVRON = 10 microns instead of 100 microns. This significant sensitivity is due to several factors: the large extent of chevron fractures, the assumption of constant hydraulic aperture, and the cubic law behavior based on the assumption of Poiseuille flow. The equivalent macro-permeabilities obtained in this work can be used for large scale flow modeling using any simulation code that accommodates Darcy’s law with a full, spatially variable permeability tensor Kij(x).

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available athttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1474706511001483
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Agence Nationale pour la Gestion des Déchets Radioactifs - ANDRA (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UPS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
Laboratory name:
Deposited By: Rachid ABABOU
Deposited On:10 Jan 2014 10:21

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