Investigation of Fracture Intersection Behaviors in Three‑Dimensional Space Based on CT Scanning Experiments

Zhihong Zhao, Yuhang Zhao, Zeyun Jiang, Jianchun Guo, Ran Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The generation of a fracture network in reservoir rocks for fluids to flow via hydraulic fracturing is important in shale oil and gas development, and the intersection between hydraulic and natural fractures is key in bridging natural fractures. In this work, the intersection behaviors between hydraulic and natural fractures and fracture propagation in a three-dimensional (3D) space were investigated. A hydraulic fracturing lab facility is designed and a series of fracturing tests on eight underground cores from the Kong shale reservoir are carried out. First, visualization analysis was conducted on each sample before and after fracturing with the assistance of an X-ray CT scan and the following up 3D reconstruction. Second, an extension model of fracture intersection between natural and hydraulic fractures is established in 3D through analytical calculations. Finally, the intersection behaviors are classified into six zones according to our model analysis. Apart from interesting results and findings, insights into the formation and propagation of fracture networks are also provided, which are of great value in characterizing shale reservoirs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5703-5713
Number of pages11
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number11
Early online date29 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Fracture intersection
  • Fracture propagation
  • Intersection criteria
  • True triaxial experiment
  • X-ray CT scan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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