Backflow from a model fracture network: An asymptotic investigation

Asaf Dana, Gunnar G. Peng, Howard A. Stone, Herbert E. Huppert, Guy Z. Ramon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We develop a model for predicting the flow resulting from the relaxation of pre-strained, fluid-filled, elastic network structures. This model may be useful for understanding relaxation processes in various systems, e.g. deformable microfluidic systems or by-products from hydraulic fracturing operations. The analysis is aimed at elucidating features that may provide insight on the rate of fluid drainage from fracturing operations. The model structure is a bifurcating network made of fractures with uniform length and elastic modulus, which allows for general self-similar branching and variation in fracture length and rigidity between fractures along the flow path. A late-time power law is attained and the physical behaviour can be classified into four distinct regimes that describe the late-time dynamics based on the location of the bulk of the fluid volume (which shifts away from the outlet as branching is increased) and pressure drop (which shifts away from the outlet as rigidity is increased upstream) along the network. We develop asymptotic solutions for each of the regimes, predicting the late-time flux and evolution of the pressure distribution. The effects of the various parameters on the outlet flux and the network's drainage efficiency are investigated and show that added branching and a decrease in rigidity upstream tend to increase drainage time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-924
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Apr 10 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • lubrication theory
  • porous media


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