Transport, mixing, and reaction in fractured porous media

Mission: advance the fundamental understanding of subsurface flow & transport across scales. The ultimate goal is to enable predictive modeling of transport processes in fractured media.

A few examples of ongoing research projects and publications can be found below. 

Inertia effects on transport, mixing & reaction

Recent studies have shown that often-neglected inertial flows can readily appear in porous and fractured media flows, resulting in complex flow topologies that alter trends in solute and reactive transport. Through direct numerical simulations, microfluidics experiments, and flow topology analysis, we elucidate inertia effects on transport, mixing, and reaction. Then, we propose effective models that can upscale the effects of inertia on transport, mixing, and reaction. 

Mixing & reaction at fracture intersections

Mixing at pore and fracture intersections can have a major impact on macroscopic solute and reactive transport. Recent studies have shown that fracture intersections are potential hotspots for biogeochemical reactions. There are, however, no upscaled models that describe effective mixing and reaction at fracture intersections. We investigate how intersection geometry, stress, and flow conditions affect mixing and reaction at intersections. A major goal is to develop predictive upscaled models that effectively describe mixing and reaction at fracture intersections.

Transport processes in discrete fracture networks

Recent advances in computational resources now enable us to simulate flow and transport within fractured media with 3‐D discrete fracture networks (DFNs) that explicitly consider three‐dimensional fracture networks. DFN models can explicitly resolve fracture scale and fracture network scale properties by representing individual fractures as discrete entities. This allows for investigating the effects of flow and transport within individual fractures on network scale phenomena in detail.

Our group actively uses DFN modeling to elucidate transport processes fracture networks and apply it to a real field site.

Selected publications