Modelling hydraulic fractures in porous media using flow cohesive interface elements

Vinh Phu Nguyen, Haojie Lian, Timon Rabczuk, Stéphane Bordas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


This paper revisits the problem of computational modelling of a fluid-driven fracture propagating in a permeable porous medium using zero-thickness flow cohesive interface elements. Both cases of continuous and discontinuous pressure field across the fractures are implemented in a unified formulation. The paper provides computational aspects of hydraulic fracture modelling such as mesh generation, execution time, convergence and numerical integration issues. We show that Newton-Cotes quadrature must be used for quadratic flow cohesive interface elements at least for the presented problems. Our simulations exhibit the so-called intermittent crack tip advancement as recently confirmed in the literature. This paper is addressed to researchers who would like to have a quick working implementation of the zero-thickness flow cohesive interface elements for simulating hydraulic fracturing processes with finite elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-82
Number of pages15
JournalEngineering Geology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2017


  • Finite element method
  • Flow cohesive interface elements
  • Hydraulic fractures
  • Porous media

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