Laboratory Investigation on the Effect of in Situ Stresses on Hydraulic Fracture Containment (Englisch)

Laboratory experiments have been conducted to determine the effect of in situ stress variations on hydraulic fracture containment. Fractures were initiated in layered rock samples with prescribed stress variations, and fracture growth characteristics were determined as a function of stress levels. Stress contrasts of 2-3 MPa were found to be sufficient to restrict fracture growth in laboratory samples of Nevada tuff and Tennessee and Nugget sandstones. The required stress level was found not to depend on mechanical rock properties. However, permeability and the resultant pore pressure effects were found to be important. Tests conducted at bimaterial interfaces between Nugget and Tennessee sandstone show that the resultant stresses set up near the interface due to the applied overburden stress affect the fracture behavior in the same way as the applied confining stresses. These results provide a guideline for determining the in situ stress contrast necessary to contain a fracture in a field treatment. (ERA citation 06:016520)

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