Permeability-Friction Relationships for Propped Fractures in Shale

Jiayi Yu, Jiehao Wang, Yan Li, Amr El-Fayoumi, Ruiting Wu, Xiaolong Liu, Peggy Rijken, Andrew P. Rathbun, Derek Elsworth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We investigate controls on fluid transfer into massive hydraulic fractures due to reactivation of, and proppant penetration into, oblique fractures transecting the main fracture face during long-term reservoir depletion through tightly constrained laboratory experiments. Permeability evolution of fracture-contained proppant permeability/conductivity is highly sensitive to both normal stress and proppant loading concentration and less sensitive to shear displacement rate. By experimentally examining the shale and steel fractures-as an analog to end-member manifestations of soft/weak and hard/strong fracture surfaces-and calibrating using granular mechanics models (DEM), we conclude that the evolution of friction-permeability relationship of a propped shale fracture is largely controlled by the rock friction/rigidity. To be specific, propped hard/strong fractures show a continuous permeability decay at near-constant rate throughout a shear deformation. Conversely, permeability of soft/weak fractures declines rapidly during pre-steady-state-friction then declines more slowly after transitioning to steady-state-friction. We posit that weak fracture walls accommodate shear deformation via the combined effects of distributed deformation across the interior of the proppant pack and from sliding at the fracture-proppant interface. However, strong rocks accommodate shear deformation primarily through distributed deformation within the proppant pack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication56th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium
PublisherAmerican Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA)
ISBN (Electronic)9780979497575
StatePublished - 2022
Event56th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium - Santa Fe, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2022Jun 29 2022

Publication series

Name56th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium


Conference56th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Fe

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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