Exploring the physicochemical processes that govern hydraulic fracture through laboratory experiments

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Abstract

Hydrocarbon recovery is potentially maximized with an open, complex fracture network of large surface area to volume ratio that penetrates the reservoir. We study the hydraulic rupture of a solid, homogenous cube of Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) containing model boreholes as an analog to hydraulic fracturing with various fracture-driving fluids. The transparency of PMMA allows for the visualization of fracture propagation using high-speed video. The cubes are constrained by prescribed triaxial far-field stresses with the borehole-parallel stress set to zero. The cube is ruptured by overpressuring the borehole at controlled rates with fluids present as both liquids and gases pre- and syn- failure. We measure the fracture breakdown pressure, rates of fracture propagation and the physical characteristics of the resulting fractures and how they vary between fluid types. Further research extends these experimental methods to bluestone and granite, with additional tests that determine the permeability of these materials and its effect on creating a complex fracture network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012
Pages2958-2963
Number of pages6
Volume4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Event46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2012Jun 27 2012

Other

Other46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012
CountryUnited States
CityChicago, IL
Period6/24/126/27/12

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

Cite this

Alpern, J., Marone, C. J., Elsworth, D., Belmonte, A., & Connelly, P. (2012). Exploring the physicochemical processes that govern hydraulic fracture through laboratory experiments. In 46th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2012 (Vol. 4, pp. 2958-2963)