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Title: Numerical and Experimental Studies of Particle Settling in Real Fracture Geometries

In this study, proppant is a vital component of hydraulic stimulation operations, improving conductivity by maintaining fracture aperture. While correct placement is a necessary part of ensuring that proppant performs efficiently, the transport behavior of proppant in natural rock fractures is poorly understood. In particular, as companies pursue new propping strategies involving new types of proppant, more accurate models of proppant behavior are needed to help guide their deployment. A major difficulty with simulating reservoir-scale proppant behavior is that continuum models traditionally used to represent large-scale slurry behavior loose applicability in fracture geometries. Particle transport models are often based on representative volumes that are at the same scale or larger than fractures found in hydraulic fracturing operations, making them inappropriate for modeling these types of flows. In the absence of a first-principles approach, empirical closure relations are needed. However, even such empirical closure relationships are difficult to derive without an accurate understanding of proppant behavior on the particle level. Thus, there is a need for experiments and simulations capable of probing phenomena at the sub-fracture scale. In this paper, we present results from experimental and numerical studies investigating proppant behavior at the sub-fracture level, in particular, the role of particlemore » dispersion during proppant settling. In the experimental study, three-dimensional printing techniques are used to accurately reproduce the topology of a fractured Marcellus shale sample inside a particle-flow cell.« less
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0723-2632
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 49; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0723-2632
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
Country of Publication:
United States
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; 58 GEOSCIENCES; Proppant transport; Particle settling; Microcapsules; Hydraulic fracture
OSTI Identifier: