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Numerical Modelling of Proppant Transport in Hydraulic Fractures

Yatin Suri1, Sheikh Zahidul Islam1, *, Mamdud Hossain1
1 School of Engineering, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK.
* Corresponding Author: Sheikh Zahidul Islam. Email: .
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: CFD Modeling and Multiphase Flows)

Fluid Dynamics & Materials Processing 2020, 16(2), 297-337. https://doi.org/10.32604/fdmp.2020.08421

Received 23 August 2019; Accepted 16 October 2019; Issue published 21 April 2020

Abstract

The distribution of proppant injected in hydraulic fractures significantly affects the fracture conductivity and well performance. The proppant transport in thin fracturing fluid used during hydraulic fracturing in the unconventional reservoirs is considerably different from fracturing fluids in the conventional reservoir due to the very low viscosity and quick deposition of the proppants. This paper presents the development of a threedimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling technique for the prediction of proppant-fluid multiphase flow in hydraulic fractures. The proposed model also simulates the fluid leak-off behaviour from the fracture wall. The Euler-Granular and CFD-Discrete Element Method (CFD-DEM) multiphase modelling approach has been applied, and the equations defining the fluid-proppant and inter-proppant interaction have been solved using the finite volume technique. The proppant transport in hydraulic fractures has been studied comprehensively, and the computational modelling results of proppant distribution and other flow properties are in good agreement with the published experimental study. The parametric study is performed to investigate the effect of variation in proppant size, fluid viscosity and fracture width on the proppant transport. Smaller proppants can be injected early, followed by larger proppants to maintain high propping efficiency. This study has enhanced the understanding of the complex flow phenomenon between proppant and fracturing fluid and can play a vital role in hydraulic fracturing design.

Keywords

Proppant transport, hydraulic fracturing, eulerian-granular model, computational fluid dynamics, discrete element method, fluid leak-off.

Cite This Article

Suri, Y., Islam, S. Z., Hossain, M. (2020). Numerical Modelling of Proppant Transport in Hydraulic Fractures. FDMP-Fluid Dynamics & Materials Processing, 16(2), 297–337.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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