Experimental and numerical study of flow and thermal transport in fractured rock

Tavakkoli Osgouei Y., AKIN S.

HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER, vol.57, no.6, pp.1053-1068, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 57 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00231-020-03001-w
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Chimica, Compendex, INSPEC
  • Page Numbers: pp.1053-1068
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


An experimental and numerical study was carried out to investigate matrix-fracture thermal transport in fractured rock. Two different synthetically fractured core plugs were used during the flow-through experiments while core plugs' outer surface was maintained at two different constant temperatures. To investigate the matrix-fracture thermal transport, cold water was injected through the single fracture core plugs at different flow rates. A film type heat flux sensor was used in the fractured core plug to measure the fracture temperature and heat flux over the matrix-fracture interface. Experimental results showed that fracture temperature decreases with increasing flow rate while heat flux increases. At high flow rates, temperature difference over matrix-fracture interface increases due to large volume of water contacting the fracture at a given time. Water temperature decreased more in the case of fracture surrounded by rock matrix with low volumetric heat capacity and thermal conductivity. A numerical model calibrated using experimental values of the fracture temperature was developed to estimate thermal properties of rock matrix and to identify their importance on the matrix-fracture thermal transport. Using the calibrated numerical model, it has been shown that temperature in the fracture and fracture surface temperature are different contrary to previous studies assuming the same values for these two temperatures. Local and transient convective heat transfer coefficients were introduced with respect to local values of temperature difference and transient values of heat flux along matrix- fracture interface enabling accurate representation of matrix-fracture thermal transport.