Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Effective thermal conductivity (ETC), as a necessary parameter in the thermal properties of rock, is affected by the pore structure and the thermal conduction conditions. To evaluate the effect of fractures and saturated fluids on sandstone’s thermal conductivity, we simulated thermal conduction along three orthogonal (X, Y, and Z) directions under air- and water-saturated conditions on reconstructed digital rocks with different fractures. The results show that the temperature distribution is separated by the fracture. The significant difference between the thermal conductivities of solid and fluid is the primary factor influencing the temperature distribution, and the thermal conduction mainly depends on the solid phase. A nonlinear reduction of ETC is observed with increasing fracture length and angle. Only when the values of the fracture length and angle are large, a negative effect of fracture aperture on the ETC is apparent. Based on the partial least squares (PLS) regression method, the fluid thermal conductivity shows the greatest positive influence on the ETC value. The fracture length and angle are two other factors significantly influencing the ETC, while the impact of fracture aperture may be ignored. We obtained a predictive equation of ETC which considers the related parameters of digital rocks, including the fracture length, fracture aperture, angle between the fracture and the heat flux direction, porosity, and the thermal conductivity of saturated fluid.
Thermal conduction simulation based on reconstruction digital rocks with respect to fractures.
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