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Minerals 2018, 8(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8010014

Relating Topological and Electrical Properties of Fractured Porous Media: Insights into the Characterization of Rock Fracturing

1
Geosciences Montpellier, CNRS, UMR 5243, University of Montpellier, 34095 Montpellier CEDEX 05, France
2
Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 29 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Modelling)
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Abstract

Numerous laboratory and field experiments suggest that electrical properties of fractured rocks may provide critical information regarding the topological properties of the underlying fracture networks. However, a lack of numerical studies dedicated to realistic fractured media prevents us from assessing, in a systematic manner, the relationships between electrical and topological properties in complex domains for which a representative elementary volume may not exist. To address this issue, we conduct an extended numerical analysis over a large range of realistic fractured porous media with an explicit description of the fractures that takes into account the fracture–matrix interactions. Our work shows that the fracture density determines the suitability of Archie’s law for describing effective electrical properties with complex behavior associated with small fracture densities. In particular, for fracture networks at the percolation threshold surrounded by a low-porosity matrix, the effective petrophysical relationships are impacted by the assumed fracture-length distribution and the exchange of electric current between the fractures and surrounding matrix. These results help in understanding experimental observations that were difficult to explain so far, suggesting that the effective electrical properties of fractured rock may be used to obtain insights into the properties of their geological structures. View Full-Text
Keywords: fractured rock; geophysical methods; effective electrical properties; Archie’s law; parametric analysis; fracture–matrix exchange; numerical simulations fractured rock; geophysical methods; effective electrical properties; Archie’s law; parametric analysis; fracture–matrix exchange; numerical simulations
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Roubinet, D.; Irving, J.; Pezard, P.A. Relating Topological and Electrical Properties of Fractured Porous Media: Insights into the Characterization of Rock Fracturing. Minerals 2018, 8, 14.

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