Publication Abstract

Porous Media Fracturing Dynamics: Stepwise Crack Advancement and Fluid Pressure Oscillations

Cao, T. D., Hussain, F., & Schrefler, B. A. (2018). Porous Media Fracturing Dynamics: Stepwise Crack Advancement and Fluid Pressure Oscillations. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids. Elsevier Ltd.. 111, 113-133. DOI:10.1016/j.jmps.2017.10.014.


We present new results explaining why fracturing in saturated porous media is not smooth and continuous but is a distinct stepwise process concomitant with fluid pressure oscillations. All exact solutions and almost all numerical models yield smooth fracture advancement and fluid pressure evolution, while recent experimental results, mainly from the oil industry, observation from geophysics and a very few numerical results for the quasi-static case indeed reveal the stepwise phenomenon. We summarize first these new experiments and these few numerical solutions for the quasi-static case. Both mechanical loading and pressure driven fractures are considered because their behaviours differ in the direction of the pressure jumps. Then we explore stepwise crack tip advancement and pressure fluctuations in dynamic fracturing with a hydro-mechanical model of porous media based on the Hybrid Mixture Theory. Full dynamic analyses of examples dealing with both hydraulic fracturing and mechanical loading are presented. The stepwise fracture advancement is confirmed in the dynamic setting as well as in the pressure fluctuations, but there are substantial differences in the frequency contents of the pressure waves in the two loading cases. Comparison between the quasi-static and fully dynamic solutions reveals that the dynamic response gives much more information such as the type of pressure oscillations and related frequencies and should be applied whenever there is a doubt about inertia forces playing a role - the case in most fracturing events. In the absence of direct relevant dynamic tests on saturated media some experimental results on dynamic fracture in dry materials, a fast hydraulic fracturing test and observations from geophysics confirm qualitatively the obtained results such as the type of pressure oscillations and the substantial difference in the behaviour under the two loading cases.