Computational simulation of the hydraulic fracturing process using a discrete element method
Sergio Andres Galindo Torres
Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Last modified: June 1, 2006
Hereby we introduce a discrete element simulation for the hydraulic fracture process in a petroleum well which takes into account the elastic behavior of the rock and the Mohr-Coulomb fracture criteria. The rock is modeled as an array of Voronoi polygons joined by elastic beams, which suffer techtonical stresses and the hydrostatic pressure of the fracturing fluid. The fluid pressure is treated like that of an hydraulic column. The simulation reproduces well the time and dimensions of real fracture processes. Moreover, it reproduces the fractal dimension for the fracture of previous studies, but using a very low number of elements and reduced computer requirements. The model is a first step for future applications in the petroleum industry.