A Stress Gradient Theory of Rock Fracture In Drilling

[+] Author and Article Information
S. R. Swanson

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

J. Energy Resour. Technol 101(1), 46-52 (Mar 01, 1979) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3446861 History: Received December 11, 1978; Online August 19, 2010


It seems likely that improvements in drilling mechanics will result from an understanding of the stress and strain fields in the rock. Along with this an understanding of rock fracture under the appropriate conditions is required. The stress fields in drilling are characterized by high spatial gradients of stress, and the stress gradients are known to interact with rock fracture properties. The present investigation is concerned with quantifying the stress gradient effect on fracture. Laboratory tests were performed on a variety of specimen configurations for three brittle rocks. A very strong effect of stress gradient was found, indicating an apparent elevation of fracture strength with increasing stress gradient. A correlation was shown with a critically stressed distance concept.

Copyright © 1979 by ASME
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