Research Project B05

Hydromechanics of fractures and fracture networks: A combined numerical multi-scale and experimental investigation


Research Project B05 plans to cooperate closely on image-based characterisation and physical investigation of fractured rock with the group of Jens Birkholzer and Seiji Nakagawa at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL, Berkeley).

A lively exchange of principal investigators and doctoral researchers between Berkeley and Stuttgart has existed for many years, especially in the field of fractured porous media systems. Recently LBNL has built an advanced laboratory for investigating the physics of hydraulic fracturing.


We characterise static and evolving fluid-saturated fractures and fracture networks with high-resolution X-ray Computed Tomography. Besides the characterisation of the geometries of fractures, we aim for the quantification of the fractures’ apertures. This allows for the characterisation of hydro-mechanical coupling effects and the validation of combined numerical investigations. The experiments are performed in an X-ray-transparent triaxial cell under defined confining pressure and axial stresses. The experimental results are the basis for the adjacent quantification of coarse-grained effective material properties.

Publications in Project B05

  1. Ruf, M., & Steeb, H. (n.d.). An open, modular, and flexible micro X-ray computed tomography system for research. Review of Scientific Instruments, 91(11), 113102--.
  2. Konangi, S., Palakurthi, N. K., Karadimitriou, N. K., Comer, K., & Ghia, U. (n.d.). Comparison of Pore-scale Capillary Pressure to Macroscale Capillary Pressure using Direct Numerical Simulations of Drainage under Dynamic and Quasi-static Conditions. Advances in Water Resources, 103792.
  3. Hasan, S., Niasar, V., Karadimitriou, N. K., Godinho, J. R. A., Vo, N. T., An, S., Rabbani, A., & Steeb, H. (2020). Direct characterization of solute transport in unsaturated porous media using fast X-ray synchrotron microtomography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  4. Karadimitriou, N. K., Mahani, H., Steeb, H., & Niasar, V. (n.d.). Nonmonotonic Effects of Salinity on Wettability Alteration and Two-Phase Flow Dynamics in PDMS Micromodels. Water Resources Research.
  5. Steeb, H., & Renner, J. (n.d.). Mechanics of Poro-Elastic Media: A Review with Emphasis on Foundational State Variables. Transport in Porous Media.
  6. Hasan, S. N., Joekar-Niasar, V., Karadimitriou, N., & Sahimi, M. (2019). Saturation-Dependence of Non-Fickian Transport in Porous Media. Water Resources Research.
  7. Yin, X., Zarikos, I., Karadimitriou, N. K., Raoof, A., & Hassanizadeh, S. M. (n.d.). Direct simulations of two-phase flow experiments of different geometry complexities using Volume-of-Fluid (VOF) method. Chemical Engineering Science, 195, 820--827.
  8. Zhang, H., Frey, S., Steeb, H., Uribe, D., Ertl, T., & Wang, W. (2018). Visualization of Bubble Formation in Porous Media. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 1–1.

For further information please contact

This picture showsHolger Steeb
Prof. Dr.-Ing.

Holger Steeb

Principal Investigator, Research Projects B05 and C05

This picture showsWolfgang Nowak
Prof. Dr.-Ing.

Wolfgang Nowak

Principal Investigator, Research Projects B04 and B05

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