A Marcellus shale rock fracture was subjected to four shearing steps and at the end of each shearing step CT (computed tomography) scans with resolution of 26.8 μm were obtained. The CT images were used to generate full aperture maps of the fracture configuration at the end of each shearing phase. The pressure drops along the fracture were also measured for different water flow rates through the fracture. The aperture map of the fracture was used to generate the geometry of the fracture for use in numerical simulations. The water flows and pressure drops in the fracture were simulated with different computational methods that included the full Navier-Stokes simulation, Modified Local Cubic Law (MLCL), and Improved Cubic Law (ICL) methods. Full 3-D Navier-Stokes simulation is the most accurate computational approach which was done with use of the ANSYS-Fluent software for each shear step and different flow rates. The MLCL is a 2-D relatively fast method which is commonly used for prediction of transmissivity of fractures. ICL is a 1-D method proposed in this study in which the effects of surface roughness and tortuosity were included in calculation of the effective aperture height of fractures. To provide an understanding of the accuracy of each of these models their predictions were compared with each other and with the experimental data. Also, to examine the effects of resolution of CT scans and the surface roughness on prediction of fractures transmissivity, similar simulations were performed on average aperture maps. Here the fracture of the full resolution data was averaged over 10 × 10 pixels. Comparing the results of the average aperture maps with those of the full maps showed that the lower resolution of CT scans led to underestimation of the fracture pressure drop due to missing the small features of the fracture surfaces and smoothing out their roughness.

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