Initiation and propagation of fractures in anisotropic media, taking into account Hydro-Mechanical couplings

Abstract : Current emphasis in petroleom industry toward increasing the reservoirs efficiency, along with the interest in exploitation of other sources of energy buried deep underground created a renewed interest in rock fracture mechanics in general and hydraulic fracturing specifically. Hydraulic fracturing, informally referred to as “fracking,” is an oil and gas well development process that typically involves injecting water, under high pressure into a bedrock formation via the well. This process is intended to create new fractures in the rock as well as increase the size, extent, and connectivity of existing fractures. However some of the very important features of this process have been overlooked. Among these neglected features one can name of inability of the vast majority of existing models to tackle at once the propagation of hydraulic fractures in fractured rocks-masses where a competing dipole mechanism exists between fracturing of the intact rock and re-activation of exiting fracture networks. Another feature that has been ignored is its intrinsically three dimensionality which is neglected by most models. Among all different types of numerical methods that have been developed in order to assess the mechanism of fracturing phenomenon very few, if any, can handle the entire complexity of such process. In the present thesis, fluid-driven crack initiation and propagation in transverse isotropic rocks is simulated using a coupled model comprising of eXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM) and cohesive zone models. The HM XFEM developed in this thesis is an extension to previous models developed introduced in multiscale hydrogeomechanics team of GeoRessources. An emphasis is put on considering the anisotropic nature of the medium and on studying its influence on the propagation path. This latter is investigated by the concept of bifurcation angle previously introduced in literature. In complementary efforts was made to have a better understanding of crack initiation in transversely isotropic media, we also used the discrete element method (DEM) in order to gain insights into the mechanisms at stake. Both methods exhibit their advantages and disadvantages in modeling fracturing phenomenon. The different nature of two methods, DEM being a discontinuous and XFEM being a continuous method, reveals potentials of both methods and renders a good comparison of which method suits the problem in hand the best, considering the the objectives of the design
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Sourena Moosavi. Initiation and propagation of fractures in anisotropic media, taking into account Hydro-Mechanical couplings. Applied geology. Université de Lorraine, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LORR0254⟩. ⟨tel-02104028⟩

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