Rock and Soil Mechanics ›› 2022, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (12): 3270-3280.doi: 10.16285/j.rsm.2022.5490

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Discrete element simulation and experimental study on the initiation pressure of hydraulic fracturing

DONG Qi1, 2, WANG Yuan1, 2, FENG Di3   

  1. 1. College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210098, China 2. State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210098, China 3. College of Civil and Transportation Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210098, China
  • Online:2022-12-14 Published:2023-02-21
  • About author:DONG Qi, male, born in 1991, PhD, Assistant Professor, research interests: discontinuous numerical simulation of hydraulic fracturing in rock mass.
  • Supported by:
    the Outstanding Postdoctoral Program of Jiangsu Province (2022ZB170), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1765204, 41772340) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0440804-01).

Abstract: Predicting the initiation pressure of hydraulic fracturing is of great significance for oil and gas exploitation, in-situ stress measurement, and anti-cracking design of hydraulic structures. In this paper, the discontinuous numerical simulation method of particle discrete element combined with domain–pipe flow model is applied considering the fluid–solid coupling. Based on the front-advancing method, the granular model with a regular-shaped borehole is generated to analyze the meso cracking process and initiation pressure of hydraulic fracturing. According to the simulation results, the distribution of contact force chain on the borehole wall is consistent with the theoretical solution on the basis of eliminating the irregularity of borehole shape. The fitted initiation pressure formula by DEM is also close to the theoretical solution. Furthermore, the difference between the fitting formula of initiation pressure and the theoretical solution is explained from the perspective of the local tensile force generated when the granular material is compressed. Finally, a method for preparing impermeable mortar samples with prefabricated boreholes is designed. The initiation pressure under different principal stresses is quantitatively studied based on the true triaxial laboratory tests, which verifies the reliability of the discrete element simulation results.

Key words: hydraulic fracturing, discrete element method, initiation pressure, domain–pipe flow model, laboratory test