Initialization of phase-field fracture propagation in porous media using probability maps of fracture networks.

Sanghyun Lee, Mary F. Wheeler, Thomas Wick, Sanjay Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


It is well known in the geophysical community that surface deflection information/micro-seismic data are considered to be one of the best diagnostics for revealing the volume of rock fracture. However, the in-exactness of the data representing the deformation induced to calibrate and represent complex fracture networks created and connected during hydraulic fracturing presents a challenge. In this paper, we propose a technique that implements a phase-field approach to propagate fractures and their interaction with existing fracture networks using surface deflection data. The latter one provides a probability map of fractures in a heterogeneous reservoir. These data are used to initialize both the location of the fractures and the phase-field function. In addition, this approach has the potential for optimizing well placement/spacing for fluid-filled fracture propagation for oil and gas production and or carbon sequestration and utilization. Using prototype models based on realistic field data, we demonstrate the effects of interactions between existing and propagating fractures in terms of several numerical simulations with different probability thresholds, locations, and numbers of fractures. Our results indicate that propagating fractures interact in a complex manner with the existing fracture network. The modeled propagation of hydraulic fractures is sensitive to the threshold employed within the phase-field approach for delineating fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalMechanics Research Communications
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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