Imbibition in a model open fracture Capillary rise, kinetic roughening, and intermittent avalanche dynamics
- Xavier Clotet i Fons, Stéphane Santucci
We use electrical resistance measurements to characterize the aperture field in a rough fracture. This is done by performing displacement experiments using two miscible fluids of different electrical resistivity and monitoring the time variation of the overall fracture resistance. Two fractures have been used: their complementary rough walls are identical but have different relative shear displacements which create "channel" or "barrier" structures in the aperture field, respectively parallel or perpendicular to the mean flow velocity U(→). In the "channel" geometry, the resistance displays an initial linear variation followed by a tail part which reflects the velocity contrast between slow and fast flow channels. In the "barrier" geometry, a change in the slope between two linear zones suggests the existence of domains of different characteristic aperture along the fracture. These variations are well reproduced analytically and numerically using simple flow models. For each geometry, we present then a data inversion procedure that allows one to extract the key features of the heterogeneity from the resistance measurement.