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Effect of fracture roughness on the hydrodynamics of proppant transport in hydraulic fractures.

Suri, Yatin; Islam, Sheikh Zahidul; Hossain, Mamdud



The effect of fracture roughness is investigated on proppant transport in hydraulic fractures using Joint Roughness Coefficient and a three-dimensional multiphase modelling approach. The equations governing the proppant transport physics in the fracturing fluid is solved using the hybrid computational fluid dynamics model. The reported proppant transport models in the literature are limited to the assumption of a smooth fracture domain with no fluid leak-off or fluid flow from fracture to rock matrix interface. In this paper, a proppant transport model is proposed that accounts for the proppant distribution in rough fracture geometry with fluid leak-off effect to surrounding porous rock. The hydrodynamic and mechanical behaviour of proppant transport was found directly related to the fracture roughness and flow regime especially under the influence of low viscosity fracturing fluid typically used in shale gas reservoirs. For the proppant transport in smooth fractures, the fracture walls employ mechanical retardation effects and reduce the proppant horizontal velocity resulting in more significant proppant deposition. On the contrary, for the proppant transport in rough fractures, the inter-proppant and proppant wall interactions become dominant that adds turbulence to the flow. It results in mechanical interaction flow effects becoming dominant and consequently higher proppants suspended in the slurry and greater horizontal transport velocity. Furthermore, the mechanical interaction flow effects were found to be principally dependant on the proppant transport regime and become significant at higher proppant Reynolds number.


SURI, Y. ISLAM, S.Z. and HOSSAIN, M. 2020. Effect of fracture roughness on the hydrodynamics of proppant transport in hydraulic fractures. Journal of natural gas science and engineering [online], 80, article ID 103401. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 26, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2020
Publication Date Aug 31, 2020
Deposit Date May 28, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 4, 2021
Journal Journal of natural gas science and engineering
Print ISSN 1875-5100
Electronic ISSN 2212-3865
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 80
Article Number 103401
Keywords Joint roughness coefficient; Computational fluid dynamics; Hydraulic fracturing; Fluid leak-off; Proppant transport; Fracture roughness
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