Lost circulation is a serious problem which always exists in the petroleum industry. Wellbore strengthening by lost circulation materials (LCMs) is a commonly applied method for mitigating lost circulation. This paper presents a hydraulic fracturing apparatus to investigate the effect of material type, concentration, and particle size distribution (PSD) of LCMs on wellbore strengthening behavior. In addition, the characteristics of pressure curves in the fracturing process are analyzed in detail. The results showed that the fracture pressure of the artificial core can be increased by LCMs, and there exists an optimum concentration of LCMs for the maximum wellbore strengthening effect. The LCMs with wide PSD can significantly increase the fracture pressure. However, some LCMs cannot increase or even decrease the fracture pressure; this is resulting from the LCMs with relatively single PSD that makes the quality of mud cake worse. The representative pressure curve in the fracturing process by drilling fluids with LCMs was divided into five parts: the initial cake formation stage, elastic plastic deformation stage, crack stability development stage, crack instability development stage, and unstable plugging stage. The actual fracturing curves were divided into four typical types due to missing of some stages compared with the representative pressure curve. In order to strengthen the wellbore in effective, good LCMs should be chosen to improve the maximum pressure in the elastic plastic deformation stage, extend the stable time of pressure bearing in the crack stability development stage, and control the crack instability development stage.

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