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Title: Effects of spatial heterogeneity and material anisotropy on the fracture pattern and macroscopic effective toughness of Mancos Shale in Brazilian tests

For assessing energy-related activities in the subsurface, it is important to investigate the impact of the spatial variability and anisotropy on the geomechanical behavior of shale. The Brazilian test, an indirect tensile-splitting method, is performed in this work, and the evolution of strain field is obtained using digital image correlation. Experimental results show the significant impact of local heterogeneity and lamination on the crack pattern characteristics. For numerical simulations, a phase field method is used to simulate the brittle fracture behavior under various Brazilian test conditions. In this study, shale is assumed to consist of two constituents including the stiff and soft layers to which the same toughness but different elastic moduli are assigned. Microstructural heterogeneity is simplified to represent mesoscale (e.g., millimeter scale) features such as layer orientation, thickness, volume fraction, and defects. The effect of these structural attributes on the onset, propagation, and coalescence of cracks is explored. The simulation results show that spatial heterogeneity and material anisotropy highly affect crack patterns and effective fracture toughness, and the elastic contrast of two constituents significantly alters the effective toughness. However, the complex crack patterns observed in the experiments cannot completely be accounted for by either an isotropic or transverselymore » isotropic effective medium approach. In conclusion, this implies that cracks developed in the layered system may coalesce in complicated ways depending on the local heterogeneity, and the interaction mechanisms between the cracks using two-constituent systems may explain the wide range of effective toughness of shale reported in the literature.« less
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  1. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313; 656461
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000; 180869; SC0006883
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; Brazilian test; Mancos Shale; digital image correlation; effective toughness; phase field model; heterogeneity
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1375650; OSTI ID: 1377607