A Numerical Study on the Effect of Anisotropy on Hydraulic Fractures

Valliappan Valliappan, J. J.C. Remmers, A. Barnhoorn, D. M. J. Smeulders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we present a two-dimensional numerical model for modelling of hydraulic fracturing in anisotropic media. The numerical model is based on extended finite element method. The saturated porous medium is modelled using Biot’s theory of poroelasticity. An enhanced local pressure model is used for modelling the pressure within the fracture, taking into account the external fluid injection and the leak-off. Directional dependence of all the rock properties, both elastic and flow related, is taken into account. A combination of the Tsai–Hill failure criterion and Camacho–Ortiz propagation criterion is proposed to determine the fracture propagation. We study the impact on fracture propagation (in both magnitude and direction) due to anisotropies induced by various parameters, namely ultimate tensile strength, Young’s modulus, permeability and overburden pressure. The influence of several combinations of all these anisotropies along with different grain orientations and initial fracture directions on the fracture propagation direction is studied. Different regimes are identified where the fracture propagation direction is controlled by the degree of material anisotropy instead of the stress anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591–609
Number of pages19
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Volume52 (2019)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2017


  • Extended finite element method
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Porous media
  • Rock anisotropy
  • Transverse isotropy


Dive into the research topics of 'A Numerical Study on the Effect of Anisotropy on Hydraulic Fractures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this