Quantitative and visual analysis of proppant transport in rough fractures

Raimbay A., Babadagli T., Kuru E., Develi K.

JOURNAL OF NATURAL GAS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, vol.33, pp.1291-1307, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The consensus reached in the literature is that the roughness of fractures plays a crucial role on proppant transport affecting the aperture sustainability and conductivity of hydraulic fractures. To clarify this, an experimental scheme and analysis are presented in this paper. Propping agents were introduced into seven different transparent fracture replicas obtained from different origin rock samples (granite, marble, and limestone) at a high rate mimicking hydraulic fracturing process conditions. The inlet pressure was continuously monitored to quantify the change in hydraulic conductivity due to proppant distribution. Corresponding images were collected to trace the transport of proppants and their behavior was correlated to the measured pressure drop (representing conductivity) change. Experiments were repeated on joint (perfectly mating) and horizontally displaced (sheared-unmating) models using water and polymer solution.