Effect of Injected Water on Hydraulic Fracturing Deduced from Acoustic Emission Monitoring
—In order to investigate the effects of injected water in hydraulic fracturing, experiments were conducted on cubic granite specimens, comparing fracturings induced by conventional water injection with those induced by pressurization of a urethane sleeve, thereby realizing "hydraulic fracturing" without the use of fracturing fluid. In both experiments, a shear type mechanism was found to be dominant in fault plane solutions of AE events. However, in the case of water injection, cracks extended rapidly with large drops in hole water pressure and bursts of AE, whereas in pressurization by the urethane sleeve, cracks extended stepwise with no such large drops in hole pressure and no bursts of AE. The difference in crack extension in the two experiments can be analyzed by comparing relations between crack length and stress intensity factor of mode I at a crack tip. The observation and analysis indicate that existence of fracturing fluid like water helps initiated cracks to extend rapidly and widely in hydraulic fracturing in actual HDR fields.
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