Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > An Evaluation of Flow and Transport Properties for Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids in Porous Medium Systems

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technology being applied across the US to increase the permeability of shale deposits containing natural gas by injecting a multicomponent, non-Newtonian mixture into the subsurface to induce fractures. The purpose of this work was to assess the behavior of non-Newtonian fluids used in fracking. Guar gum was chosen as a model fracking compound. Rheological properties of guar gum solutions were analyzed and column experiments were performed to determine the pressure drop as a function of fluid velocity. Guar gum was found to alter the viscosity of the flushing solution by more than two orders of magnitude in some cases. A Cross model was fit to the viscosity data and dispersion was found to decrease with increasing viscosity. Preliminary collaborative work has been done to model the observed systems at the pore scale. Comparing these results to the column-scale observations made shows relatively good agreement.