Gas-driven fracturing

Gas-Driven Fracturing of Saturated Granular Media

James M. Campbell, Deren Ozturk, and Bjørnar Sandnes
Phys. Rev. Applied 8, 064029 – Published 29 December 2017

Gas-driven fracturing underlies both natural and industrial processes, such as volcanic degassing, methane venting, stimulated hydrocarbon extraction, and treatment of contaminated soil. The authors show how in such a complex system the capillary, frictional, and viscous interactions together produce a range of fracture patterns, with cracks separated by a characteristic length that varies based on the conditions. Discovering how material properties and injection rate affect these patterns helps to establish a physics framework for optimizing permeability and assessing risk in gas-driven fracturing of hydrocarbon reservoirs and remediation of polluted soil.

Campbell_2017_PRAppl_preprint

Frictional Fluids II

This movie shows what happens when you inject a gas into a granular suspension at different injection rates. At low rates, “stick slip” bubbles emerge, followed by “temporal intermittency” where periods of continuous motion are interrupted by occasional jamming. Increasing the injection rate further produces a spectacular “coral”-like pattern, and ultimately destabilized viscous fingers appear at high rates.