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Title: Method for visualizing fractures induced by laboratory-based hydraulic fracturing and its application to shale samples
Authors: Chen, Youqing  kyouindb  KAKEN_id  orcid (unconfirmed)
Naoi, Makoto  kyouindb  KAKEN_id  orcid (unconfirmed)
Tomonaga, Yuto
Akai, Takashi
Tanaka, Hiroyuki
Takagi, Sunao
Ishida, Tsuyoshi
Author's alias: 陳, 友晴
直井, 誠
石田, 毅
Keywords: hydraulic fracturing
fracture pattern
laboratory test
polarization microscope observation
Issue Date: Aug-2018
Publisher: MDPI AG
Journal title: Energies
Volume: 11
Issue: 8
Thesis number: 1976
Abstract: A better understanding of the process of stimulation by hydraulic fracturing in shale gas and oil reservoirs is necessary for improving resource productivity. However, direct observation of hydraulically stimulated regions including induced fractures has been difficult. In the present study, we develop a new approach for directly visualizing regions of shale specimens impregnated by fluid during hydraulic fracturing. The proposed laboratory method uses a thermosetting resin mixed with a fluorescent substance as a fracturing fluid. After fracturing, the resin is fixed within the specimens by heating, and the cut sections are then observed under ultraviolet light. Based on brightness, we can then distinguish induced fractures and their surrounding regions impregnated by the fluid from other regions not reached by the fluid. Polarization microscope observation clearly reveals the detailed structures of tortuous or branched fractures on the micron scale and interactions between fractures and constituent minerals. The proposed experimental and observation method is useful for understanding the process of stimulation by hydraulic fracturing and its relationship with microscopic rock characteristics, which is important for fracturing design optimization in shale gas and oil resource development.
Rights: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
DOI(Published Version): 10.3390/en11081976
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