Hydraulic fracturing as a global cascade in networked systems

David Cho and Gary F. Margrave

ABSTRACT

Networked systems require the consideration of the interactions between component parts as well as the parts themselves in understanding the properties of the system. In the case of hydraulic fracturing, the process can be regarded as the spread of a fractured state through an initially unfractured network of rock elements. In this study, we implement a spreading model in networks to evaluate the dynamics of the hydraulic fracturing process in various rock types. The corresponding results regarding the stresses that must be overcome, the areal extent and energy release in hydraulic fracturing were in agreement with empirical observations.

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