Procesos acoplados de flujo multifásico, transporte y deformación mecánica en medios heterogéneos porosos y fracturados a distintas escalas

[Cod. PID2022-137652NB-C44 HydroPore II]

Multiphase flow, deformation, transport, mixing, and reaction processes in porous and fractured media are fundamental across many scientific and engineering disciplines. Unraveling the underlying mechanisms that control them and developing quantitative and predictive tools are key to understanding a series of engineered technologies and natural phenomena such as the quantification of natural nutrient cycles in soils, the design of effective soil and groundwater remediation strategies, and the development of safe and efficient geoenergy technologies. The inherent heterogeneity of porous and fractured media across scales is at the heart of the limitations of current conceptual models. The main goal of HydroPore II therefore is to determine the fundamental principles underlying coupled flow, transport, reaction, and deformation processes in heterogeneous porous and fractured media. Following an interdisciplinary methodology based on laboratory scale experiments, high resolution numerical simulations, and numerical and analytical upscaling techniques, HydroPore II will identify and quantify the dynamics of two-phase displacements, thermally-driven deformation and fracturing, and solute mixing and chemical reactions under complex flow conditions across scales.


The subproject SP4 is directed towards increasing the understanding of two-phase flow dynamics and heat transport in fractured media. SP4 has two specific objectives. The first one is to study two-phase flow in a slipping rough fracture. SP4 will quantify two-phase flow dynamics in a fracture undergoing up to 10 mm of slip using an experimental apparatus designed and built in SP2 to measure slip-induced flow anisotropy by imposing radial flow into a rectangular fracture sample. To upscale the laboratory scale to the field scale, the experimental results will be combined with the numerical simulations performed by SP3 to gain insights into relative permeability and capillary pressure changes occurring within a slipping rough fracture. Specifically, we aim at addressing open questions on the effect of capillarity on two-phase flow dynamics along the shear-induced channels in fractured rock. The second objective tackled by SP4 is to identify the impact of heterogeneity on heat transport in deformable fracture networks. Using numerical simulations, we will investigate heat transfer in the context of heterogeneous fractured reservoir and explore the thermo-hydro-mechanical response to long-term fluid circulation and heat transport in deformable fracture networks. The numerical simulations will gain insights from the effective models of heat transport and deformation derived by SP1. A theoretical framework linking the characteristics of fracture networks with large-scale observations will be derived in collaboration with SP1 and SP2. Opportunities for knowledge transfer will be explored through the collaboration with the company Itasca Consultants. The results obtained by SP4 will advance our understanding of high-enthalpy geothermal systems and geo-energy applications, key for climate change mitigation.


Project results will be disseminated at national and international conferences. Furthermore, communication to society will be carried out through press releases and at science fairs open to the general public.