A new equi-dimensional fracture model using polyhedral cells for microseismic data sets

Omar Al-Hinai, Rencheng Dong, Sanjay Srinivasan, Mary F. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We present a method for modeling flow in porous media in the presence of complex fracture networks. The approach utilizes the Mimetic Finite Difference (MFD) method. We employ a novel equi-dimensional approach for meshing fractures. By using polyhedral cells we avoid the common challenge in equi-dimensional fracture modeling of creating small cells at the intersection point. We also demonstrate how polyhedra can mesh complex fractures without introducing a large number of cells. We use polyhedra and the MFD method a second time for embedding fracture boundaries in the matrix domain using a “cut-cell” paradigm. The embedding approach has the advantage of being simple and localizes irregular cells to the area around the fractures. It also circumvents the need for conventional mesh generation, which can be challenging when applied to complex fracture geometries. We present numerical results confirming the validity of our approach for complex fracture networks and for different flow models. In our first example, we compare our method to the popular dual-porosity technique. Our second example compares our method with directly meshed fractures (single-porosity) for two-phase flow. The third example demonstrates two-phase flow for the case of intersecting ellipsoid fractures in three-dimensions, which are typical in microseismic analysis of fractures. Finally, we demonstrate our method on a two-dimensional fracture network produced from microseismic field data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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