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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 490320, 5 pages
Research Article

Fractal Analysis of Permeability of Unsaturated Fractured Rocks

1Earthquake Engineering Research Test Center, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510405, China
2Ningbo Polytechnic, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315800, China

Received 12 February 2013; Accepted 4 March 2013

Academic Editors: A. Billi and A. V. Koustov

Copyright © 2013 Guoping Jiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A physical conceptual model for water retention in fractured rocks is derived while taking into account the effect of pore size distribution and tortuosity of capillaries. The formula of calculating relative hydraulic conductivity of fractured rock is given based on fractal theory. It is an issue to choose an appropriate capillary pressure-saturation curve in the research of unsaturated fractured mass. The geometric pattern of the fracture bulk is described based on the fractal distribution of tortuosity. The resulting water content expression is then used to estimate the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of the fractured medium based on the well-known model of Burdine. It is found that for large enough ranges of fracture apertures the new constitutive model converges to the empirical Brooks-Corey model.