Numerical simulation of hydraulic fracturing: A hybrid FEM-based algorithm

Michal Wrobel*, Panos Papanastasiou, Daniel Peck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)
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In this paper, a problem of numerical simulation of hydraulic fractures is considered. An efficient algorithm of solution is proposed for the plain strain model of hydraulic fracturing. The algorithm utilizes a FEM-based subroutine to compute deformation of the fractured material. The flow of generalized Newtonian fluid in the fracture is modeled in the framework of lubrication theory. In this way, the architecture of the computational scheme is relatively simple and enables one to deal with advanced cases of the fractured material properties and configurations as well as various rheological models of fluid. In particular, the problems of poroelasticity, plasticity, and spatially varying properties of the fractured material can be analyzed. The accuracy and efficiency of the proposed algorithm are verified against analytical benchmark solutions. The algorithm capabilities are demonstrated using the example of the hydraulic fracture propagating in complex geological settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2268-2293
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number12
Early online date25 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 09 Aug 2022


  • FEM
  • hydraulic fracture
  • numerical simulations
  • plane strain crack


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