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Numerical Modelling of Hydraulic Fracturing in Weakly Consolidated Sandstones Using Smeared Fracture Approach

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Numerical Modelling of Hydraulic Fracturing in Weakly Consolidated Sandstones Using Smeared Fracture Approach

CETI 12-050

Authors: S. Taghipoor, A. Nouri, D. Chan, University of Alberta; H. Vaziri, BP America

Volume 1, Number 2



This paper introduces a new hydraulic fracturing model suitable for use in weakly consolidated sandstone. The existing theories/classical models are not adequate for predicting the behaviour and growth of hydraulic fractures when shear fractures and branching are involved or the tensile fracture changes direction.

The proposed model uses a smeared approach for simulating hydraulic fracturing. The model can simulate both tensile and shear fractures. However, this paper focuses only on tensile fracturing in an impermeable medium. Tensile fracturing of geomaterials involves intense strain localization and softening. Since strain localization is a discontinuous phenomenon, the continuum approach adopted here is expected to suffer mesh dependency when modelling localization of deformation in the tensile fractures. A regularization method is used to ensure that the energy dissipated during fracture propagation is mesh-size independent. This model also adopts the cubic low for the fracture flow.

The smeared fracture approach has been verified against previous work in the literature with reasonable agreements. This shows that the smeared fracture approach is able to capture the hydraulic fracturing process in weakly consolidated sandstone.

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© 2012 Canadian Energy Technology & Innovation (CETI) Group
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Canadian Energy Technology & Innovation (CETI) Group

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