The hydraulic fracturing laboratory has capabilities to measure fracture growth and geometry (including full-field fracture width) in rock and rock analogue materials under controlled stress and stress gradient conditions. Facilities include a field fracturing laboratory with equipment that can be used in the field to carry out and monitor full-size hydraulic fracture treatments.
In the field, treatments with and without proppant can be conducted, using water, linear gel and cross-linked gel fluids. Monitoring can also be performed using microseismic, tiltmeter arrays and fibre optic offset monitoring. Piezometer, extensometer and borehole scanning data can also be collected and analysed.
The team has a strong grounding in engineering mechanics and use a range of solid and fluid mechanics analysis packages, as well as developing specialised models for our research. These include 2D, P3D and 3D hydrauilc fracturing models. Additional analysis capability is based on scaling methods and analysis of the asymptotic regimes of hydraulic fracture behaviour. We provide rigorous tools that can be used to simplify relationships and generate non-dimensional reduced parameter spaces, providing guidance for our numerical studies and laboratory experimental designs.`