Fractures in rocks enable the motion of fluids through the large, hot geologic formations of geothermal reservoirs. The heat transfer from the surrounding rock mass to the fluid flowing through a fracture depends on the geometry of the fracture, the fluid/solid properties, and the flow rate through the fracture. A numerical study was conducted to evaluate the changes in heat transfer to the fluid flowing through a rock fracture with changes in the flow rate. The aperture distribution of the rock fracture, originally created within Berea sandstone and imaged using a CT-scanner, is well described by a Gaussian distribution and has a mean aperture of approximately 0.6 mm. Water was used as the working fluid, enabling an evaluation of the efficiency of heat flux to the fluid along the flow path of a hot dry geothermal system. As the flow through the fracture was increased to a Reynolds number greater than 2300 the effect of channeling through large aperture regions within the fracture were observed to become increasingly important. For the fastest flows modeled the heat flux to the working fluids was reduced due to a shorter residence time of the fluid in the fracture. Understanding what conditions can maximize the amount of energy obtained from fractures within a hot dry geologic field can improve the operation and long-term viability of enhanced geothermal systems.

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