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Featured article from geoscience journal

Wormhole formation in dissolving fractures
Abstract:

We investigate the dissolution of artificial fractures with three-dimensional, pore-scale numerical simulations. The fluid velocity in the fracture space was determined from a lattice-Boltzmann method, and a stochastic solver was used for the transport of dissolved species. Numerical simulations were used to study conditions under which long conduits (wormholes) form in an initially rough but spatially homogeneous fracture. The effects of flow rate, mineral dissolution rate and geometrical properties of the fracture were investigated, and the optimal conditions for wormhole formation determined.