Coupled hydro-mechanical evolution of fracture permeability in sand injectite intrusions

Quan Gan* (Corresponding Author), Derek Elsworth, Yixin Zhao, Antonio Grippa, Andrew Hurst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Sandstone "injectite" intrusions are generally developed by the fluidization of weakly cemented sandstones and their subsequent injection into fractured reservoirs. In this work, a continuum coupled hydromechanical model TOUGH-FLAC3D is applied to simulate the discrete fracture network in large-scale sand injectite complexes. A sand production constitutive model is incorporated to consider the formation of sand through plastic deformation and its influence on evolution of fracture permeability. Overpressures in the fluidized sand slurry drives the injection with sand dikes intruded upwards, typically into previously low permeability "tight" mudstone formations. The contrast in poroelastic properties of the underlying weak sandstone and overlying injectite receptor directly affects the evolution of fracture aperture both during and after intrusion. Fluid drainage into the unconsolidated matrix may reduce the extent of fracture aperture growth, through the formation of shear bands. The results of this work have broad implications related to the emplacement of sandstone intrusions and subsequent hydrocarbon accumulation, maturation and then production. (C) 2020 Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-751
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date8 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank the support in using FracPaQ from Roberto Rizzo in the University of Aberdeen. We also appreciate the financial support from the Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining (China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing) (Grant No. SKLCRSM16KFC01).


  • Fracture permeability
  • Hydro-mechanical coupling
  • Sand fluidization
  • Sandstone intrusions
  • AREA


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