Self-similar solution of a plane-strain fracture driven by a power-law fluid

J. I. Adachi, E. Detournay

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This paper analyses the problem of a hydraulically driven fracture, propagating in an impermeable, linear elastic medium. The fracture is driven by injection of an incompressible, viscous fluid with power-law rheology and behaviour index n ≥ 0. The opening of the fracture and the internal fluid pressure are related through the elastic singular integral equation, and the flow of fluid inside the crack is modelled using the lubrication theory. Under the additional assumptions of negligible toughness and no lag between the fluid front and the crack tip, the problem is reduced to self-similar form. A solution that describes the crack length evolution, the fracture opening, the net fluid pressure and the fluid flow rate inside the crack is presented. This self-similar solution is obtained by expanding the fracture opening in a series of Gegenbauer polynomials, with the series coefficients calculated using a numerical minimization procedure. The influence of the fluid index n in the crack propagation is also analysed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-604
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 6 2002


  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Power-law fluids
  • Self-similar solutions


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