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Pulse fracture simulation in shale rock reservoirs: DEM and FEM–DEM approaches


In this paper we analyze the capabilities of two numerical techniques based on DEM and FEM–DEM approaches for the simulation of fracture in shale rock caused by a pulse of pressure. We have studied the evolution of fracture in several fracture scenarios related to the initial stress state in the soil or the pressure pulse peak. Fracture length and type of failure have been taken as reference for validating the models. The results obtained show a good approximation to FEM results from the literature.

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This work has been carried out with the financial support from Advanced grant projects COMDESMAT and ICEBREAKER of the European Research Council and the BALAMED project (BIA2012-39172) of MINECO (Spain). The support of CIMNE for making available the DEMPack code ( and the GiD pre-postprocessor ( is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Eugenio Oñate.

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González, J.M., Zárate, F. & Oñate, E. Pulse fracture simulation in shale rock reservoirs: DEM and FEM–DEM approaches. Comp. Part. Mech. 5, 355–373 (2018).

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  • Discrete element method
  • Finite element method
  • Pulse fracture
  • Shale rock