Geometrical description and permeability calculation about shale tensile micro-fractures

Guanzheng Qu, Zhanqing Qu, Randy Doyle Hazlett, David Freed, Rahman Mustafayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


To study fluid flow in shale tensile micro-fractures, five shale core samples, taken from Barnnet Shale, were splitted into artificial tensile fractures based on Brazilian test. The morphology of the artificial fractures was obtained by a 3-D laser sensor profilometer. Then, 3-D information was transformed into 2-D information and the quantitative parameters, such as tortuosity, surface angularity and roughness, were calculated based on the scanning principle. Cluster analysis was introduced to make sure the distance among the parameters, the fluid flow in shale micro-fractures with the opening of 0.05-0.40 mm was simulated by Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM), and an equation was derived for calculating the shale tensile micro-fracture permeability. The results show that, the tortuosity of the samples is close to 1.10, the angularity is among 0.99°-8.86°, and the roughness is among 0.062-0.162 mm; the parameters cannot be substituted by one another and their effects should be considered at the same time; the micro-s is less 19%-29% than the parallel plate model permeability, so the roughness should be included. It is verified that the deviation of the equation is less than 4%, and it can be used to calculate shale tensile micro-fracture permeability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalPetroleum Exploration and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluid flow simulation
  • Fracture angularity
  • Fracture morphology
  • Fracture permeability model
  • Fracture roughness
  • Fracture tortuosity
  • Shale
  • Tensile micro-fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology


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