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Published October 25, 2016 | public
Journal Article

Numerical modeling of hydraulic fracture propagation, closure and reopening using XFEM with application to in-situ stress estimation


In this paper, a fully coupled model is developed for numerical modeling of hydraulic fracturing in partially saturated weak porous formations using the extended finite element method, which provides an effective means to simulate the coupled hydro-mechanical processes occurring during hydraulic fracturing. The developed model is for short fractures where plane strain assumptions are valid. The propagation of the hydraulic fracture is governed by the cohesive crack model, which accounts for crack closure and reopening. The developed model allows for fluid flow within the open part of the crack and crack face contact resulting from fracture closure. To prevent the unphysical crack face interpenetration during the closing mode, the crack face contact or self-contact condition is enforced using the penalty method. Along the open part of the crack, the leakage flux through the crack faces is obtained directly as a part of the solution without introducing any simplifying assumption. If the crack undergoes the closing mode, zero leakage flux condition is imposed along the contact zone. An application of the developed model is shown in numerical modeling of pump-in/shut-in test. It is illustrated that the developed model is able to capture the salient features bottomhole pressure/time records exhibit and can extract the confining stress perpendicular to the direction of the hydraulic fracture propagation from the fracture closure pressure.

Additional Information

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Issue online: 12 September 2016; Version of record online: 12 April 2016; Manuscript Accepted: 3 January 2016; Manuscript Revised: 10 December 2015; Manuscript Received: 18 March 2015.

Additional details

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