Understanding of hydraulic properties from configurations of stochastically distributed fracture networks

Mingyu Wang, P. H.S.W. Kulatilake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A systematic investigation of the effect of configurations of stochastically distributed fracture networks on hydraulic behaviour for fractured rock masses could provide either quantitative or qualitative correlation between the structural configuration of the fracture network and its corresponding hydraulic behaviour, and enhance our understanding of appropriate application of groundwater flow and contaminant transport modelling in fractured rock masses. In this study, the effect of block sizes, intersection angles of fracture sets, standard deviations of fracture orientation, and fracture densities on directional block hydraulic conductivity and representative elementary volume is systematically investigated in two dimensions by implementing a numerical discrete fracture fluid flow model and incorporating stochastically distributed fracture configurations. It is shown from this investigation that the configuration of a stochastically distributed fracture network has a significant quantitative or qualitative effect on the hydraulic behaviour of fractured rock masses. Compared with the deterministic fracture configurations that have been extensively dealt with in a previous study, this investigation is expected to be more practical and adequate, since fracture geometry parameters are inherently stochastically distributed in the field. Moreover, the methodology and approach presented in this study may be generally applied to any fracture system in investigating the hydraulic behaviours from configurations of the fracture system while establishing a 'bridge' from the discrete fracture network flow modelling to equivalent continuum modelling in fractured rock masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1135
Number of pages11
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2008


  • Directional block hydraulic conductivity
  • Discrete fracture fluid flow modelling
  • Fluid flow
  • Fractures
  • Hydraulic conductivity tensor
  • Representative elementary volume
  • Stochastically distributed fracture network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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