3-D Finite-Discrete Element Simulation of a Triaxial Direct-Shear Experiment
- B. Euser (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | Z. Lei (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | E. Rougier (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | E. E. Knight (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | L. Frash (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | J. W. Carey (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | H. Viswanathan (Los Alamos National Laboratory) | A. Munjiza (University of Split)
- Document ID
- American Rock Mechanics Association
- 52nd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, 17-20 June, Seattle, Washington
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2018. American Rock Mechanics Association
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- 85 since 2007
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ABSTRACT: Hydraulic fracturing is a proven method for extracting oil and gas from low-permeability rock formations. However, many aspects related to hydraulic fracture processes, such as fracture permeability, still lack sufficient characterization. To better understand the fundamental processes of hydrocarbon production, a study of fracture initiation and propagation in shale rock is conducted using the combined Finite-Discrete Element Method (FDEM). The simulations qualitatively match fracture patterns observed in triaxial direct-shear core flood experiments, and successfully replicate experimental measures of peak stress as a function of confining pressure.
Prediction and, potentially, control of fracture formation in geomaterials remains a grand challenge within earth and energy sciences. This directly impacts exploitation techniques used in the production of natural resources from underground environments (e.g., mining of mineral ores, oil and gas extraction, water well development, carbon sequestration operations). Improving these techniques is of interest for many different industries. Regarding oil and natural gas extraction, hydraulic fracturing is a proven method for extracting resources from unconventional reservoirs (Scanlon et al., 2014, Li et al., 2015, Belyadi et al., 2017). However, many aspects related to hydraulic fracture processes, such as fracture development under complex stress conditions, incidence of the fracture creation or reactivation in the permeability of the formation, still lack sufficient characterization. Considering the low yield of hydrocarbons stored in unconventional reservoirs, any improvement in the manipulation of fractures could be far reaching in terms of economic and environmental impact.
Research focusing on numerical methods suitable for simulating the initiation, propagation, and arrest of fractures in rock medium has been underway for decades. Continuum-based approaches have been proposed (Tsang et al, 2005, Zubelewicz et al., 2014, Rutqvist, et al., 2018); however, this approach has limitations modeling large deformations and fragmentation processes. The discrete element method (DEM) provides an alternative to the mesh-based methods that is capable of simulating fracture processes in rock materials (Bwalya et al., 2001, Ba et al., 2013, Suchorzewski et al., 2017). Though this approach is also limited in its ability to model material deformation and fracture; the numerical calibration of bulk material properties being one of them.
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