Thermal shock in reservoir rock enhances the hydraulic fracturing of gas shales

Saeid Enayatpour*, Tad Patzek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Thermal shock occurs when a material's temperature is changed over a short period of time such that constituent parts of the material deform by different amounts. The deformation of material due to thermal load can be manifested through strain and stress. As the temperature diffuses from hydraulic fracture into reservoir, the temperature changes with x coordinate and the stress/strain can be obtained from the Equation (6). Once the stress at any point exceeds the strength of material, the body fails in one of the three modes of tension, compression or shear. A thermal load on rock, results in the creation and extension of cracks, crushing the grains, or sliding the grain interfaces. In this paper we look into the possibility of stimulating the rock matrix beyond hydraulic fracturing stimulation by cooling down the rock. The physics of temperature reduction in a solid dictates that when a solid is laterally fixed and undergoes temperature reduction, a thermal stress gradient is induced in the solid body. In rock, this thermal stress gradient leads to a differential contraction of the rock, which in turn creates openings, referred to as thermal cracks. We numerically solve the nonlinear gas diffusivity equation, using finite element method and show that the thermal cracks in rock have the potential to improve the productivity of wells placed in tight formations by 20%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnconventional Resources Technology Conference 2013, URTC 2013
PublisherUnconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTEC)
ISBN (Print)9781613993026
StatePublished - 2013
EventUnconventional Resources Technology Conference 2013, URTC 2013 - Denver, United States
Duration: Aug 12 2013Aug 14 2013

Publication series

NameUnconventional Resources Technology Conference 2013, URTC 2013


ConferenceUnconventional Resources Technology Conference 2013, URTC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2013, Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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