On the numerical simulation of crack interaction in hydraulic fracturing

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In this paper, we apply the enhanced local pressure (ELP) model to study crack interaction in hydraulic fracturing. The method is based on the extended finite element method (X-FEM) where the pressure and the displacement fields are assumed to be discontinuous over the fracture exploiting the partition of unity property of finite element shape functions. The material is fully saturated and Darcy’s law describes the fluid flow in the material. The fracture process is described by a cohesive traction-separation law, whereas the pressure in the fracture is included by an additional degree of freedom. Interaction of a hydraulic fracture with a natural fracture is considered by assuming multiple discontinuities in the domain. The model is able to capture several processes, such as fracture arrest on the natural fracture, or hydraulic fractures that cross the natural fracture. Fluid is able to flow from the hydraulic fracture into the natural fracture. Two numerical criteria are implemented to determine whether or not the fracture is crossing or if fluid diversion occurs. Computational results showing the performance of the model and the effectiveness of the two criteria are presented. The influence of the angle between a hydraulic fracture and a natural fracture on the interaction behaviour is compared with experimental results and theoretical data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423–437
Number of pages15
JournalComputational Geosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Extended finite element method
  • Enhanced local pressure model
  • Hydraulic Fracturing
  • Crack interaction
  • Crack interaction
  • Hydraulic fracturing

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