Proppant Crushing Mechanisms Under Reservoir Conditions: Insights into Long-Term Integrity of Unconventional Energy Production

  • K. M. A. S. Bandara
  • P. G. RanjithEmail author
  • T. D. Rathnaweera
Review Paper


Proppant crushing, a major proppant failure mechanism, occurs in geothermal energy and oil/gas stimulation production stages when the level of net stress exerted on the proppant exceeds the actual crush resistance of the material. Loss of effective reservoir conductivity due to proppant crushing can result in significant loss in productivity, and so it is crucial to understand the realistic proppant mechanical performances under deep reservoir conditions. This review provides a comprehensive overview of proppant crushing at the micro- to macro-levels by analyzing single proppant breakage, as well as re-arrangement and breakage mechanisms of proppant packs under in situ fracture environments. The choice of an appropriate proppant type based on the fracture treatment plays a key role in effective geothermal and oil/gas recovery. In addition, injection of proppants with better characteristics (higher sphericity, lower size, better gradation and lower granular porosity) can significantly influence the reduction of the extent of proppant crushing. Moreover, this study compares the performances and responses of different types of proppants upon proppant interaction with geothermal and oil/gas reservoir environments. Furthermore, this paper discusses various proppant types and their enhanced characteristics, which can be utilized as controlling measures for proppant crushing during unconventional energy extraction.


Hydraulic fracturing Unconventional oil/gas resources Proppant Proppant crushing 



The authors extend their appreciation to all the reviewers who provided constructive comments to help to improve the quality of the manuscript.


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© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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