Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Riverside

Modeling and Analysis of Fluid Driven Fracture Propagation Under the Plane Strain Condition


The process of fracture propagation driven by the pressure of the fluid flow between the fracture surfaces has been of considerable interest for understanding natural geological phenomena such as the formation of volcanic dikes and developing hydraulic fracturing technologies for industrial applications. Man-made hydraulic fracturing has been most commonly used for stimulation of oil and gas reservoirs to increase hydrocarbon production, stimulation of geothermal reservoirs, remediation of soil and groundwater aquifers, injection of wastes, goafing and fault reactivation in mining, and measurement of underground in situ stresses.

Computational modeling and simulation of fluid driven fracture propagation in realistic geological formation has been a challenging problem because of various complexities including formation heterogeneities and the use of highly nonlinear engineered fluids. At present, one of the main obstacles for the robust industrial application of the simulating technology is the computational efficiency and stability. The objective of this study is to investigate the numerical efficiency and stability of various algorithms that can be potentially used in modeling of fluid driven fracture propagation. For simplicity, we have focused on fracture propagation in the plane strain condition. The fracture is assumed to in homogeneous linear

elastic medium and modeled using displacement discontinuity boundary element method (DDBEM). The nonlinear power-law fluid flow is modeled using conventional lubrication theory. The coupled equations are then discretized using zero order elements for its efficiency. The coupled equations become increasingly stiff and difficulty to solve when the power law indices become smaller. Various numerical algorithms such as Newton iteration

with line search, trust-region and quasi-Newton method are investigated and compared. We have also extended the model to the fluid driven non-planar fracture propagation. A numerical crack propagation criterion based on the minimum local shear stress under mixed loading condition is proposed and compared with conventional theoretical and numerical criteria. The new crack propagation criterion provides more accurate and smooth crack

initiation paths. Finally we have studied the geomechanics interaction between two simultaneous fluid driven fractures. The results provided some useful inputs for optimal design of multiple stage and multiple fracturing treatments along horizontal wells currently adopted

by the oil and gas industry for the economical recovery of unconventional resources such as shale gas and oil.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View