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Energies 2016, 9(3), 140; doi:10.3390/en9030140

Numerical Investigation of Influence of In-Situ Stress Ratio, Injection Rate and Fluid Viscosity on Hydraulic Fracture Propagation Using a Distinct Element Approach

1
Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100029, China
2
College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vasily Novozhilov
Received: 21 November 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 27 February 2016

Abstract

Numerical simulation is very useful for understanding the hydraulic fracturing mechanism. In this paper, we simulate the hydraulic fracturing using the distinct element approach, to investigate the effect of some critical parameters on hydraulic fracturing characteristics. The breakdown pressure obtained by the distinct element approach is consistent with the analytical solution. This indicates that the distinct element approach is feasible on modeling the hydraulic fracturing. We independently examine the influence of in-situ stress ratio, injection rate and fluid viscosity on hydraulic fracturing. We further emphasize the relationship between these three factors and their contributions to the hydraulic fracturing. With the increase of stress ratio, the fracture aperture increases almost linearly; with the increase of injection rate and fluid viscosity, the fracture aperture and breakdown pressure increase obviously. A low value of product of injection rate and fluid viscosity (i.e., ) will lead to narrow fracture aperture, low breakdown pressure, and complex or dispersional hydraulic fractures. A high value of would lead wide fracture aperture, high breakdown pressure, and simple hydraulic fractures (e.g., straight or wing shape). With low viscosity fluid, the hydraulic fracture geometry is not sensitive to stress ratio, and thus becomes a complex fracture network. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic fracturing; distinct element approach; in-situ stress ratio; injection rate; fluid viscosity hydraulic fracturing; distinct element approach; in-situ stress ratio; injection rate; fluid viscosity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, B.; Li, X.; Zhang, Z.; Wu, Y.; Wu, Y.; Wang, Y. Numerical Investigation of Influence of In-Situ Stress Ratio, Injection Rate and Fluid Viscosity on Hydraulic Fracture Propagation Using a Distinct Element Approach. Energies 2016, 9, 140.

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