Hydraulic fracturing is an important technology widely applied in engineering practice for the exploitation of unconventional oil and gas resources. Further research on its mechanism has the potential to advance the development of unconventional reservoir exploitation. In this study, previously acquired experimental data, including surface fracture image and fluid pressure curve, were used for modelling and comparison. Employing digital core reconstruction and the combined finite-discrete element method, A process of modelling crack geological model was proposed based on the rock surface sketch after fracturing. Two-dimensional models were established according to the surface fracture morphology of specimens. The feasibility of these numerical models was simultaneously verified by fluid pressure curves and the surface fracture morphology obtained in physical experiments. The evolution of fracture morphology during hydraulic fracturing was analysed. Simulation results indicate that: (1) the simulation method of this study is more suitable for simulation of coal hydraulic fracturing than for shale hydraulic fracturing; (2) the rapid rise of fluid pressure might be accompanied with the initiation and development of micro-fractures, leading to the occurrence of larger fractures; (3) the hydraulic fracturing process on the experimental scale could induce significantly larger maximum total area and wider fractures in coal specimens than in shale specimens. This indicates that coal hydraulic fracturing forms more complex fractures than in shale; (4) when the rock elastic modulus increases, the maximum fracture width and fracture total area decreases, and fracture length is extended. (5) The initiation and propagation pressures are positively related to the elastic modulus in the fluid pressure evolution. The crack geological model proposed in this study provides direct guidance for crack reconstruction in simulations. Moreover, the research results may provide a guidance for studies on the evolution of hydraulic fracture under the influence of rock heterogeneity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology