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Energies 2018, 11(6), 1409;

Mechanical Property Measurements and Fracture Propagation Analysis of Longmaxi Shale by Micro-CT Uniaxial Compression

1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2, 1,2 and 1,2,3,*
Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
Institution of Earth Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100029, China
College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unconventional Natural Gas (UNG) Recoveries 2018)
PDF [9153 KB, uploaded 31 May 2018]


The mechanical properties and fracture propagation of Longmaxi shale loading under uniaxial compression were measured using eight cylindrical shale specimens (4 mm in diameter and 8 mm in height), with the bedding plane oriented at 0° and 90° to the axial loading direction, respectively, by micro computed tomography (micro-CT). Based on the reconstructed three-dimensional (3-D) CT images of cracks, different stages of the crack growth process in the 0° and 90° orientation specimen were revealed. The initial crack generally occurred at relatively smaller loading force in the 0° bedding direction specimen, mainly in the form of tensile splitting along weak bedding planes. Shear sliding fractures were dominant in the specimens oriented at 90°, with a small number of parallel cracks occurring on the bedding plane. The average thickness and volume of cracks in the 90° specimen is higher than those for the specimen oriented at 0°. The geometrical characterization of fractures segmented from CT scan binary images shows that a specific surface area correlates with tortuosity at the different load stages of each specimen. The 3-D box-counting dimension (BCD) calculations can accurately reflect crack evolution law in the shale. The results indicate that the cracks have a more complex pattern and rough surface at an orientation of 90°, due to crossed secondary cracks and shear failure. View Full-Text
Keywords: shale; fracture propagation; layer orientation; micro-CT; uniaxial compression shale; fracture propagation; layer orientation; micro-CT; uniaxial compression

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Zhou, M.; Zhang, Y.; Zhou, R.; Hao, J.; Yang, J. Mechanical Property Measurements and Fracture Propagation Analysis of Longmaxi Shale by Micro-CT Uniaxial Compression. Energies 2018, 11, 1409.

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