New Insight on Deformation of Walnut/Ceramic Proppant Pack under Closure Stress in Hydraulic Fracture: Numerical Investigation

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


This study is an attempt to investigate the mechanical behavior of proppant packs deforming under compression loading. A generalized confined compression test (CCT) was simulated in the present study to investigate the deformation of walnut/ceramic proppants against compression. In this way, the CCT was simulated using ABAQUS explicit code. Unlike ordinary CCT, we obtained permeability of compressed packs through image processing of deformed packs. It was observed that a pack with small particles could markedly withstand deformation, however, at the expense of having lower permeability. Also, selecting a proper proppant pack strongly depends on the prevailing stress regime, where at low stress (<30 MPa) uniform walnut pack has the same permeability as a medley of walnut/ceramic pack. But, at greater stresses (> 40 Mpa), the pack with more ceramic is the best choice. Mixtures of walnut and ceramic proppants showed greatly strength improvement compared to similar cases with pure walnut granules. As a result, making use of such packing is highly recommended due to significant mechanical stability and also being of lower price compared to packs of pure ceramic granules.


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