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Materials 2016, 9(9), 713; doi:10.3390/ma9090713

The Shear Mechanisms of Natural Fractures during the Hydraulic Stimulation of Shale Gas Reservoirs

Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christof Schneider
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 14 August 2016 / Accepted: 18 August 2016 / Published: 23 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Materials)
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Abstract

The shearing of natural fractures is important in the permeability enhancement of shale gas reservoirs during hydraulic fracturing treatment. In this work, the shearing mechanisms of natural fractures are analyzed using a newly proposed numerical model based on the displacement discontinuities method. The fluid-rock coupling system of the model is carefully designed to calculate the shearing of fractures. Both a single fracture and a complex fracture network are used to investigate the shear mechanisms. The investigation based on a single fracture shows that the non-ignorable shearing length of a natural fracture could be formed before the natural fracture is filled by pressurized fluid. Therefore, for the hydraulic fracturing treatment of the naturally fractured shale gas reservoirs, the shear strength of shale is generally more important than the tensile strength. The fluid-rock coupling propagation processes of a complex fracture network are simulated under different crustal stress conditions and the results agree well with those of the single fracture. The propagation processes of complex fracture network show that a smaller crustal stress difference is unfavorable to the shearing of natural fractures, but is favorable to the formation of complex fracture network. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic stimulation; shale gas; complex fracture network; shear fracture; fluid rock coupling system; boundary element method hydraulic stimulation; shale gas; complex fracture network; shear fracture; fluid rock coupling system; boundary element method
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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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Zhang, Z.; Li, X. The Shear Mechanisms of Natural Fractures during the Hydraulic Stimulation of Shale Gas Reservoirs. Materials 2016, 9, 713.

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