Parameters affecting maximum fluid transport in large aperture fractures

Maria Ines Dragila, Noam Weisbrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We present results of laboratory experiments to study the behavior of liquids moving in unsaturated wide-aperture fractures. A 5-mm-thick glass plate cut with a ∼1.7-mm aperture was used as a fractured rock analog to study behavior of film and capillary droplet flow modes. Flow rates ranged between 0.6 and 6.0 ml/min. Variability in the ambient barometric pressure, resulting from weather conditions, seemed to play a role in the natural selection of flow mode. For droplet mode, constant input conditions resulted in highly variable transport properties within the fracture. The advancing meniscus exhibited a dynamic contact angle that was a function of the droplet speed and much larger than the static contact angle. Flow rate was reduced due to the larger contact angle. Analytical expressions for droplet velocity and flow capacity are presented as a function of the dynamic rather than the static contact angle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1228
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Capillary flow
  • Contact angle
  • Film flow
  • Fluid transport
  • Fracture flow
  • Fracture intersection
  • Fractured rock
  • Unsaturated
  • Vadose zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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