Flow of Complex Fluids in Geological Fractures

Lenci, Alessandro (2022) Flow of Complex Fluids in Geological Fractures, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria civile, chimica, ambientale e dei materiali, 34 Ciclo.
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In this study, the lubrication theory is used to model flow in geological fractures and analyse the compound effect of medium heterogeneity and complex fluid rheology. Such studies are warranted as the Newtonian rheology is adopted in most numerical models because of its ease of use, despite non-Newtonian fluids being ubiquitous in subsurface applications. Past studies on Newtonian and non-Newtonian flow in single rock fractures are summarized in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 presents analytical and semi-analytical conceptual models for flow of a shear-thinning fluid in rock fractures having a simplified geometry, providing a first insight on their permeability. in Chapter 3, a lubrication-based 2-D numerical model is first implemented to solve flow of an Ellis fluid in rough fractures; the finite-volumes model developed is more computationally effective than conducting full 3-D simulations, and introduces an acceptable approximation as long as the flow is laminar and the fracture walls relatively smooth. The compound effect of shear-thinning fluid nature and fracture heterogeneity promotes flow localization, which in turn affects the performance of industrial activities and remediation techniques. In Chapter 4, a Monte Carlo framework is adopted to produce multiple realizations of synthetic fractures, and analyze their ensemble statistics pertaining flow for a variety of real non-Newtonian fluids; the Newtonian case is used as a benchmark. In Chapter 5 and Chapter 6, a conceptual model of the hydro-mechanical aspects of backflow occurring in the last phase of hydraulic fracturing is proposed and experimentally validated, quantifying the effects of the relaxation induced by the flow.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Lenci, Alessandro
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Geological Fracture, Shear-thinning fluid, Reynolds Equation, Hydro-mechanical Coupling, Monte Carlo simulations, Finite Volume Method
Data di discussione
15 Marzo 2022

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