I am pleased to announce our newest DFG project „Preferential flow dynamics in unsaturated fractured porous media: Relationship between fracture network topology and dual-domain model parameterization“ in cooperation with John Nimmo from the United States Geological Survey.

We are seeking a highly motivated Ph.D. student for a period of 3 years (see the job ad here).

The Deadline for the application is the 17th of September 2018.

The aim of the project is to study the onset and dynamics of preferential flow paths in unsaturated fracture networks under both laboratory and field conditions. In the context of unsaturated preferential flow formation, the connectivity of fracture networks and hence the topology of fracture intersections has been shown to strongly control travel time distributions and maximum transport rates. Consequently, a deeper understanding of the topology of fracture network intersections, their relation to classical geometric parameters (e.g. aperture, fracture density) and most importantly the flow dynamics is required to predict the occurrence and intensity of preferential flow paths.

The following tasks are to be carried out by the Ph.D. student in the project:

  • Set up laboratory experiments to study infiltration dynamics through fractured porous media
  • Carry out field experiments to study percolation dynamics in a fractured limestone aquifer
  • Identify and measure geometrical and topological parameters of the networks
  • Establish relationships between topological/geometrical parameters and the parameterization of upscaled dual-domain models
  • Identify thresholds for the onset of preferential flow based on results from analogue laboratory experiments and field experiments under natural conditions
Preferential flow paths in porous fractured media (from Kordilla et al. 2017)

Preferential flow paths in porous fractured media (from Kordilla et al. 2017)