SOFTWARE REVIEW by Tristan Wellman and Eileen Poeter

FRACMAN® Discrete fracture network (DFN) modeling is popular for simulating flow and transport in fractured systems. Contrary to an equivalent porous media (EPM) model, which employs average parameter values within each grid cell, the DFN method explicitly defines the geometry of each fracture in the model domain. FracMan, a suite of codes for fracture simulation developed by Golder Associates Incorporated, is an established DFN modeling code. The FracMan suite provides tools for discrete feature data analysis, geologic modeling, spatial analysis, visualization, flow and transport, and geomechanics. A graphical user interface (GUI) is provided for most of the software components that operate on a PC platform. UNIX versions are also available for some components. New GUI interfaces allow fracture visualization and lessen the time required to learn input file syntax and code operation. The learning curve can be long, depending on the user's modeling background. However, technical assistance is available to licensed users and training workshops are offered. A general limitation of DFN modeling is the computational expense of specifying fractures as discrete objects. With recent improvements in both the capabilities of the FracMan software and computer processor speed, now it is possible to simulate field scale flow and transport involving thousands of fractures, although simulating high fracture density in large volumes may require fracture network simplification. Computational expense of a DFN model can be large, but simulators such as FracMan make it feasible to model discrete fracture flow for practical applications. Contact Golder Associates for licensing terms, pricing, and availability.

Rating System
5=Excellent, 4=Very Good, 3=Good, 2=Satisfactory, 1=Poor

Ease of Use
Fractured Media
Best Feature
Graphical User Interface
Worst Feature
High Learning Curve
Overall Rating

Last Update: November 2002