Mechanics of Hydraulic Fractures

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Hydraulic fractures represent a particular class of tensile fractures that propagate in solid media under pre-existing compressive stresses as a result of internal pressurization by an injected viscous fluid. The main application of engineered hydraulic fractures is the stimulation of oil and gas wells to increase production. Several physical processes affect the propagation of these fractures, including the flow of viscous fluid, creation of solid surfaces, and leak-off of fracturing fluid. The interplay and the competition between these processes lead to multiple length scales and timescales in the system, which reveal the shifting influence of the far-field stress, viscous dissipation, fracture energy, and leak-off as the fracture propagates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-339
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 3 2016


  • Multiscale
  • Penny-shaped fracture
  • Similarity solutions
  • Tip asymptotics


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