0734 Discretization methods and software tools for the simulation of complex fractured media in computational geophysics

  • Patrick Zulian, Universitá Della Svizzera Italiana, Euler Institute
  • Marco Favino
  • Maria Nestola
  • Rolf Krause

Fluid flow, concentration transport, and hydromechanical coupling in fractured porous media are crucial processes in numerous geophysical applications such as geothermal energy production, hydrocarbon exploration, nuclear waste disposal, CO2 sequestration.
In numerical simulations, realistic fracture networks are usually challenging to represent with a discrete geometry (i.e., a mesh), or even impossible at the macro-scale. Moreover, the use of fine meshes, necessary to produce accurate results, make the simulations numerically and computationally demanding, since they give rise to large simulation domains.

Several approaches have been introduced to handle these challenges. Discrete-fracture-matrix representations of the fractured media have been employed. Here, fractures are explicitly represented as lower-dimensional objects embedded into a surrounding background. The numerical approximation of differential models on these domains opens novel approaches for their discretization. Conforming and non-conforming approximations have both strengths and flaws. While conforming approaches move their major complexity to the mesh generation algorithm, non-conforming numerical methods require the use of specific numerical techniques to handle the non-conformity such as mortar methods, extended finite element discretizations, and PDE constrained optimization.

The goal of this mini-symposium is to explore and discuss any of the following aspects:
- Methods for describing flow in porous media and transport processes where the material heterogeneities arise from complex fracture network geometries.
- Fracture network generation and phase-field methods for fracture propagation.
- Inverse problems and uncertainty quantification.
- Software techniques, open-source libraries, and high-performance computing considerations.

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