Generalized conductivity scaling and transport in random networks

Gennady Margolin, Brian Berkowitz and Harvey Scher

Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

We present a 3D network model of fractures that allows a systematic study of the interplay and relative importance of the two key factors determining the character of flow and transport in the system. These factors are geometry of the network and the aperture variability of its elements. Empirical functional relationship is obtained that quantifies the dependence of the effective hydraulic conductivity on aperture variability and on the network structure. This leads to an explanation for the field-length dependence of permeability observed in fractured and heterogeneous porous formations. Transport through the network is investigated and relation between aperture variability and the Peclet number is established.