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Joint Stiffness and Deformation Behaviour

of Discontinuous Rock
M. Nassir, A. Settari, and R. Wan, University of Calgary

Abstract

Some rock masses are characterized by joints, fractures and


other planes of weakness which reduce the strength and deformation properties of rock structure. Under different
loading conditions, joints with weaker than normal and shear
deformation strength undergo a relatively higher strain than
intact rock. Because permeability of jointed rock masses in
fractured reservoirs is a strong function of joint aperture size,
one may expect a major change in the permeability when subjected to confining load variation. Therefore, it is important to
establish the relation between the stress-strain of the jointed
rock mass and the reservoir permeability. This relation is particularly important to model hydraulic fracturing and productivity decline in tight gas wells.
In this paper, a new relation is proposed to model prepeak
shear stiffness of the joint based on the conventional joint surface parameters and the confining load. Furthermore, constitutive matrices for evaluating deformation behaviour of a
single-joint and regularly jointed rock are presented as the results of an analytical study. Based on the concept of joint stiffness, an equivalent stiffness for regularly jointed rock masses
was derived, assuming that the deformation of the jointed
rock mass equals the sum of the deformation of the rock matrix and the joints. Finite element technique is used to numerically model the deformation behaviour of the jointed rock
under various loading conditions. The applicability of the
constitutive model to represent jointed rock mass was confirmed from comparison of the numerical results with some
of the existing experimental data.
The model presented here will be the key element for integrated geomechanical modelling of tight gas wells, naturally
fracture reservoirs and other fracturing processes in stresssensitive reservoirs.

Introduction

Mechanical behaviour of the jointed rock in naturally fractured reservoirs or in rock bodies stimulated by hydraulic fracturing (i.e., an artificially fractured well in a tight gas reservoir)
is highly influenced by the presence of joints. Because joints are
the main flow conduit in jointed rocks and single-joint permeability is a quadratic function of its aperture size, it is crucial to
investigate the variations in a joint aperture size under different
loading conditions.
Change in the pore pressure is the main source of the load
acting on a jointed rock in fractured reservoirs. The question of
how aperture size of the joints varies with the applied load is answered by investigating the stress-deformation of the jointed rock.
Increasing in pore pressure usually results in the opening of frac78

ture aperture and enhancement in the fractured block permeability


and vice versa.
Mechanical behaviour of a joint is characterized by its normalshear mechanical deformation and is defined in the form of a
joint constitutive model. Here we will first review the literature
related to normal and shear rock joint deformations. Different
techniques by which the composite system of rock and joints
(jointed rock) are mechanically modelled will be reviewed in the
next section.
Normal deformation of a joint has been the subject of many
studies in the early investigations on jointed rock mechanical behaviour. It was first formulated by Goodman(1) and later by Swan(2)
in an empirical approach by power-law mathematical functions.
Afterward, based on numerous experimental results, Bandis et
al.(3) proposed an empirical hyperbolic model for normal deformation of a rock joint. This model is similar, in both formulation approach and functional form, to Goodmans model; however, each
fits best their own experimental results. It is obvious that an empirical model cannot provide a reasonable simulation of joint behaviour under all laboratory testing conditions. A general exponential
function was later suggested by Malama and Kulatilake(4). The
model proved to be the best fit for their experimental data in comparison with other empirical models. However, other models only
require two experimental data points to be defined, whereas the
general exponential function requires at least three experimental
data points. Some theoretical models have also been developed
using theories of different branches of solid mechanics; for example, the theory of plasticity, damage mechanics and Hertzs contact theory of elasticity [Plesha(5), Amadei and Saeb(6) and Jing(7)].
This approach suffers from the limitation of the existing mathematical theory of classical solid mechanics, which today cannot
conveniently represent all aspects of rock joint behaviour. Hence,
both approaches rely on the experimental data and are valid only
under the certain experimental conditions under which they can fit
the experiments.
To model the shear behaviour of a rock joint, one needs to
know the peak shear stress and the respective shear displacement.
Patton(8), Ladanyi and Archambault(9) and Barton(10) were among
the first to develop a rock joints shear strength criterion. Patton
conducted a series of tests to study regular tooth-shaped artificial joints under constant-normal load. In his study he showed that
the shear strength of a saw-tooth joint is controlled by the effective friction angle, summation of basic joint friction angle and the
angle asperities build with fracture plane or dilation angle. Pattons finding is only valid at low-normal stresses where no asperities are worn off. Jaeger(11) proposed a nonlinear failure criterion
instead of a bilinear form of Pattons. At higher-normal stress his
criterion approaches Pattons model as shown in Fig. 1. An empirical shear strength criterion was proposed by Barton(10), which
represents a continuous failure envelope from low- to high-normal
stresses. This criterion is advantageous because it is defined in
Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

v max
6

co

Pattons joint
strength envelope

k ni =20

b
Jaegers joint
strength envelope
Component
of dilation plus
tooth strength

Frictional
component

Normal Stress (MPa)

Shear stress

Bartons criterion

10

5
1

0.5

v max =1.2 mm,


Aperture=1.5 mm

0
0

Normal stress

0.3

0.6

0.9

Fig. 1: Comparison between shear strength criteria of rock


joints [Roosta et al.(26)].

Fig. 2: Effect of initial normal stiffness, kni, on deformation


behaviour of a single fracture.

terms of some standard joint properties, such as joint roughness


coefficient (JRC), joint compressive strength (JCS) and the joint
basic friction angle (f b), which can be easily measured in the laboratory. He also developed a relationship to obtain the peak shear
displacement, which will be needed to formulate the shear stressshear strain relationship. Bartons criterion applicability is limited
by the subjectivity in determination of the JRC from the standard
profiles defined by Barton and Choubey(12).
Numerous other constitutive relationships have been proposed for shear stress-shear strain of a single joint. They usually
fall into two categories. The first one is the incremental relationship, consisting of the piecewise linear relationship between increments of shear stress and increments of shear strain [Archambault
et al.(13) and Boulon and Nova(14)]. These relationships are usually developed by a direct shear test under constant-normal stress
in the laboratory. The second category of constitutive relationships
is the elastoplastic relationship, derived from the plasticity theory.
In these relationships, a joints prepeak shear behaviour is usually assumed to be elastic and recoverable, whereas the post-peak
shear behaviour is considered to be plastic. Numerous elastoplastic
models exist in literature [Roberds and Einstein(15), Desai and
Fishman(16) and Plesha(5)]. This study mainly focuses on prepeak
shear behaviour of rock joints; therefore, the post-peak or elastoplastic part will not be discussed. Clough and Duncans(17) work
analyzed prepeak elastic shear behaviour, where the nonlinear hyperbolic relationship between shear stiffness is ks and normal and
shear stresses are sn and t. This has been widely used in literature
and is expressed by

Modelling of Jointed Rock Deformation


k s = patm n
patm

1 R f p , ..................................................(1)

where the parameters b, q and Rf are obtained by the direct shear


test in the laboratory and the peak shear stress t p is obtained from
an appropriate shear failure criterion.
In this study a new hyperbolic relationship will be proposed to
model the prepeak elastic part of the joints shear deformation. The
main advantage of the proposed model is that it relates shear stress
and shear strain to standard joint properties, such as JRC, JCS and
basic friction angle.
In this technical paper, mechanical behaviour or the stressstrain relationship of a single joint and a jointed rock with different
joint sets will be obtained. Single-joint mechanical behaviour comprises two normal and shear deformations which will be discussed
extensively in this study. When a jointed rock constitutive model
(stress-strain relationship) is constructed, it will be implemented
in the finite element numerical modelling in which one can apply
a load vector and obtain the respective displacement vector. The
model will be validated against some experimental data obtained
from the literature.
September 2010, Volume 49, No. 9

1.2

Normal Displacement (mm)

To model the deformation of a jointed rock, one can use the mechanics of deformation of single joints to develop the concept of
equivalent continuum. Here we first show the formulation used to
obtain the normal and shear stiffness of a single joint. When the
constitutive model of a single joint is built, it will be transformed
to the global coordinate system to construct the pseudo-continuum
constitutive model for the jointed rock.

Normal Deformation of a Rock Joint

Bandis et al.(3) suggested the following hyperbolic model to describe normal deformation of a single fracture under compressive
effective stress:

n' =

k ni v j
, .............................................................................(2)
v j
1
v m

where Dvj, kni and vm, respectively, are the joint-normal deformation, initial-normal stiffness and the maximum joint closure.
Normal stiffness of the joint kn can be obtained by taking the derivative of the normal effective stress with respect to the normal
deformation:

kn =

n'
n'
= k ni 1
'
v j
vm k ni + n

................................................(3)

Initial-normal stiffness, kni, is a measure of the joint-normal


toughness at zero-normal load condition. The effect of initialnormal stiffness on mechanical deformation of a sample joint is
shown in Fig. 2. It can be observed that the normal stiffness of a
joint is a strong function of initial-normal stiffness.

Shear Deformation Model

To develop a relation describing shear behaviour of a single fracture, an appropriate peak shear strength criterion is required. Barton
et al.s(18) empirical equation is used here to obtain the peak shear
strength t p as a function of effective normal stress, sn, and the joint
surface properties which is expressed as:

JCS n
+ b , ..........................................(4)
n

p = n' tan JRCn log

where JRCn, JCSn and fb are joint roughness coefficient, joint


compressive strength and basic joint friction angle, respectively.
The subscript n denotes the form of JRC and JCS corrected for the
length (scale) effect. It can be easily shown that in Equation (4), the
first term in the bracket is the same as the asperity dip angle a for
an idealized model as shown in Fig. 3.
79

at which dilation initiates. This point can be used as another data


point to calculate the unknowns in the suggested empirical function. Then ksi and b in Equation (6) can be derived as:

y
yx

1
b=

n tan (b )
p coef

n tan ( b )

JCS n
+ r , ......................................(8)
n

(mob) = JRCn (mob)log

y
xy

x
x

where JRCn(mob) is the mobilized joint roughness coefficient and


fr is the residual angle.
The magnitude of mobilized friction angle varies from zero
up to the peak shear angle. JRCn(mob) in the previously described
equation changes within the following range.

Fig. 3: A cross section schematic of joint asperities with ideal


pentagonal geometry.

At peak shear stress, the following empirical equation developed by Barton and Bandis(19) from analysis of 650 shear tests can
provide an estimate of shear displacement at peak shear stress:

Ln JRCn

500 Ln

0.33

Kt =

k si , ...................................................................................(6)
1 + b

14
11

2
5

JRC=2

1
n =2 MPa, JCS =20 MPa,
coef =0.3

JRCn (mob) JRCn

The effects of JCS, JRC and gcoef on shear behaviour of a joint


are shown in Fig. 4. JRC and JCS have the same effect on shear
stiffness of the joint. Lower values of JRC and JCS result in stiffer
shear resistance at lower shear stress levels and softer shear resistance at higher shear stress values. JCS does not influence the peak
shear displacement, while higher JRC is associated with greater
peak shear displacement. This is because the peak shear displacement is only a function of JRC and the length of the joint, not JCS.
The curvature of the curves is highly affected by gcoef as shown in
Fig. 4(b). The concave loading path turns to a convex one when
gcoef takes values greater than 0.824. This value changes in joints
with different surface properties and can be obtained by substituting the value of b equal to zero in Equation (7).

coef

critical

tan (b )

JCS n
tan JRC n log

coef =0.1

0.3

0.5

0.7

Shear Displacement, mm

JCS=50

20

10

n =2 MPa, JRC =5,


coef =0.3

0
0

(b)

................................(11)

0.9
n =2 MPa, JRC =5,
JCS =20 MPa

10

+ b

...............................................(9)

(k b) ...............................................(10)
k si
d
=
= si
d (1 + b )2
k si

Shear Stress, MPa

Shear Stress, MPa

where t and g are shear stress and shear displacement respectively.


a and ksi are respectively a constant and the joints initial shear
stiffness, which will be obtained later. The previously described
equation is similar to what Barton et al. suggested for normal deformation of a single joint. To obtain a and ksi in the previously
described correlation, at least two nonzero sets of data points are
required. One is the available data at peak shear stress and the other
can be obtained as follows. Results of experiments performed by
Barton et al. showed that dilation initiates when d/d p is around 0.3,
at which the mobilized friction angle is equal to the basic friction
angle. In other words, at d=gcoef.d p, the amount of shear stress will
be sn tan (fb). Here gcoef is the fraction of peak shear displacement

Shear stiffness in differential form can be obtained by differentiating shear stress in Equation (6) with respect to shear displacement as follows:

, ...................................................................(5)

where Ln and d p are the fracture length and the peak shear displacement. In Equation (5) Ln and d p are both in metres.
To describe a single-joint shear behaviour, a hyperbolic function is proposed by the authors to fit the experimental data obtained
by Barton et al.(18) as:

(a)

r
JCS n
log
no

Shear Stress, MPa

yx

p (1 + b p )
...............................(7)
p

Mobilized friction angle f(mob) is defined by Barton et. al. as:

yx

p =

2a

, k si =

Shear Displacement, mm

(c)

Shear Displacement (mm)

Fig. 4: Effect of (a) JRC, (b) coef and (c) JCS on pre-peak shear behaviour of a single joint.
80

Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

Dilation (defined as a change of joint aperture un caused by


shear) is another important phenomenon commonly associated with
shearing of rough-walled fractures. Dilation can be defined as a
function of shear displacement and the tangent of dilation angle as:

d u n = tan(d n ) d ut = tan(d n )

1
d , ..........................................(12)
Ks

where dun, dut and dn are the normal displacement, tangential displacement and the dilation angle, respectively. In strain form,

d ne =

d un
1
d ...................................................(13)
= tan(d n )
W
K sW

In the previously described equation, W is the width of the fracture.


Barton and Choubey(12)s empirical model can be used to estimate
the value of the mobilized dilation angle as:

Equivalent Moduli of Jointed Rock

The average strain energy in a region of composite material can


be calculated from the average of the stresses and strains within
that region when the boundary traction is macroscopically uniform
[Hill(21)]. Singh(22) established a continuum characterization for the
mechanical properties of the jointed rock by summing the compliances of orthogonal joint sets. Using the previously described
concept and the fact that the compliance matrices for any existing
joints can be transformed easily into the global coordinate system,
Gerrard and Pande(23) developed a pseudoization technique to obtain the equivalent modulus of a jointed rock. The transformation
from the global coordinates for the joint x, y and z to local coordinates x, y and z (used for continuum formulation) for the stress
vector is [Cook et al.(24)]:

{ '

x' ' y ' x' 'z ' }

x 'x '

= [T ] xx'

yy' zz' xy' yz' zx' }

, ...............................(18)

where T, the transformation matrix, is a 63 matrix defined as:

JCS n
d n0 (mob) = 1 / 2 JRCn (mob)log
n

.....................................(14)

It should be noted that the previously described value is half of


the mean asperities dip angle, a. Seidel and Haberfield(20) showed
that elastic deformation of asperities in shear displacement of a
joint with two initially matched faces explains the reduction in the
mean asperities dip angle. They also proved that the peak shear
stress remains unchanged even though asperities elastically deform.

Joint Constitutive Model

To model the mechanical behaviour of rock joints, they are considered in this work to be continuum possessing their own constitutive
model, rather than as discontinuities. Consider a local coordinate
system for a planar joint where n denotes the direction normal to
the joint plane, and s and t are two orthogonal directions in the
plane. The constitutive model relating stress and strain is then expressed as:

e
e
n WK n
e
s = D12
e
t
D13

D12
1
WK se
0

D13
n

0 s , .......................................(15)


1 t
WK te

= F , ...............................................................................(16)
~J

J ~ J

mat

or ~ J = D
J
~J

2 mx' n x'
2lx' nx'
nx' m y' + mx' n y' nx' l y' + lx' n y'
nx' mz' + mx' nz' nx' lz' + lx' nz'
l x ' = cos( x' x), mx ' = cos( x' y ), nx ' = cos( x' z )

l y ' = cos( y ' x), m y ' = cos( y ' y ), n y ' = cos( y ' z ) ..............................(19)
l z ' = cos( z ' x), mz ' = cos( z ' y ), nz ' = cos( z ' z )
The compliance matrix of a jointed rock containing different
joint sets is obtained by summing the contributions of the individual joint sets, resulting in the following equation:
nJ

[F ] = [F ] + S1 [T ] [F ][T ] , ...............................................(20)
t

J =1

l
J

where nJ, is the total number of fracture sets, TJ is the transformation matrix for Set J given by Equation (19) and SJ is the joint
spacing in the joint Set J. FI is the compliance matrix of the intact rock material, which in our calculation is assumed to be linearelastic one, but can be more general. Equation (20) implies that
under a given stress variation in a jointed block the total deformation is simply the sum of the deformations in the intact rock and all
the embedded joints.

Numerical Modelling

Equation (15) can also be written in tensor form as Equation


(16). The prime notation denotes the effective form of stress in
Equation (15). This form of stress is defined when the porous rock
or fracture contains a pressurized fluid.
We assumed that the compliance matrix, FJ, in Equation (16)
is symmetric. In Equation (16), the off-diagonal terms are obtained
from Equation (13) as:

D12 = D13 = tan(d n )

l x2'
mx2'
nx2'
2lx' mx '

[T ] = lx' l y ' mx' my ' nx' ny ' mx' l y ' + lx' my '
lx' lz ' mx' mz ' nx' nz ' mx' lz ' + lx' mz '

1 ...........................................................(17)
K sW

These terms represent the effect of shear stress on normal deformation (dilation). In Equation (17) it is assumed that the asperity dip angles in both shear directions, strike and tangentional,
are thesame.
September 2010, Volume 49, No. 9

Accounting for the body forces and assuming quasistatic material


behaviour, momentum balance for the bulk material requires:

ij , j + b j = 0, ij = ji , ............................................................(21)
where bj is the body force on unit volume of the material. It should
be noted that in Equation (21) the stress term is the total stress.
Strain and displacement relationship gives:

ij =

1
(ui, j + u j , i ) ......................................................................(22)
2

When Equation (21) is written for the displacement, a secondorder nonlinear differential equation will result, which cannot be
solved by an analytical method. A standard method for handling
this type of problem is the finite element method (FEM). A nu81

40

30

20

0.04

0.06

0.08

0.1

Normal Displacement, mm
Fig. 5: Comparison between Bartons experimental data and
the developed code results for normal deformation of a range
of fresh joints.

merical code was developed to test the proposed shear constitutive


model and validate it against laboratory data. FEM with brick type
elements was used to model the mechanical behaviour of joints and
jointed rocks. The Galerkin-weighted residual method was employed to approximate the solution of the differential equations for
the jointed rock problem. The variational form of linear momentum
balance for the quasistatic loadings reads:

W = grad N : N b dV N . t dA = 0 , ..........................(23)

where N is the shape function and t is the traction vector acting on


the boundary of the control volume. In matrix form, Equation (23)
can be written as:

K u = f , ...................................................................................(24)
~

where K is the stiffness matrix,

K= B D

Shear Displacement, mm

ExperimentShear Stress
FEMShear Stress
ExperimentDilation
FEMDilation

0.5
0

(b)

Shear Displacement, mm
1

1.5

n =2 MPa, JRC =6,


JCS =40 MPa, L =2 m

ExperimentShear Stress
FEMShear Stress
ExperimentDilation
FEMDilation

0.5

(c)

n=2 MPa, JRC=7.5,


JCS =50 MPa, L=1 m 0.5

16.6 10.6 7.5 6.5

and f is the external force which is the summation of tractions, body


force and pore pressure,

mat

1
JRC

1.5

B d , ................................................................(25)

0.5

Shear Stress, MPa

0.02

Shear Stress, MPa

0.25

(a)

~k

10

Dilation, mm

Symbols=Experiments
Solid Lines=Numerical Models

0.5

FEMShear Stress
ExperimentShear Behavior
FEMDilation
ExperimentDilation

Dilation, mm

Normal Stress, MPa

50

n =2 MPa, JRC=15, JCS =150 MPa, L =0.1 m

0.5

Dilation, mm

1)
2)
3)

v max (mm)
0.068
0.088
0.107

Shear Stress, MPa

JRC JCS (MPa/mm) Aperture(mm)


4
175
0.1
8.8
182
0.15
7.6
157
0.2

Shear Displacement, mm

f = N t dA + N b dV B m B pdV .................................(26)

Fig. 6: Comparison between the numerical model and


Barton experimental data for shear stress and dilation vs.
displacement.

In the previously described equations, W is the element volume


and p is the pore pressure. The constant aB has different meaning
for the joint elements and matrix: aB is a constant for the fracture
[Walsh(25)] and it is equal to Biot constant for porous geo-materials.

JCS
, ......................................(27)
K ni = 7.15 + 1.75 JRC + 0.02
a
j

Model Validation

JCS

vm = 0.296 0.0056JRC + 2.24


a
j

Single Joint

Modelling of normal deformation of a single fracture is used as the


first example to verify the accuracy of the developed code. Bandis
et al.(3)s hyperbolic constitutive model, Equation (2), was applied
in the FEM code and the results were compared with their experimental data. It can clearly be seen from Fig. 5 that the simulation
results agree well with the experiment for the first-loading normal
deformation of three different fresh joints. It should be noted that
the initial-normal stiffness and the maximum fracture closure for
the first loading cycle were correlated as functions of JCS, JRC and
initial unstressed joint aperture, aj, by Bandis et al.(3) as:
82

0.245

.................................(28)

The next step is to see the accuracy of the proposed shear


model in predicting the experimental data. A schematic of an initially loaded fracture (normal stress=2 MPa), the way it is sheared
and all the fracture properties are shown in Fig. 6. Here we can
see how closely the proposed model fits the experimental data of
Barton et al.(18) for prepeak shear and dilation behaviour of different tested fractures. The value of gcoef used in the numerical solution is 0.3 which is what was observed in the majority of tested
joints. The suggested hyperbolic model has also proven to be valid
for a wide range of normal effective stress as shown in Fig. 7.
Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

(a)

0.5

1.5

0.1

ExperimentShear Stress
FEMShear Stress
ExperimentDilation
FEMDilation

2
0
(c)

0.5
1
1.5
Shear Displacement, mm

0.1

FEMDilation

0.5

1.5

Shear Displacement, mm
0.1

n =30 MPa, JRC =10,


JCS =100 MPa,
L=0.3 m, L ref =0.1 m

15

10

0.05

ExperimentShear Stress
FEMShear Stress
ExperimentDilation
FEMDilation

Dilation, mm

Shear Stress, MPa

Dilation, mm

0
0

ExperimentShear Stress
FEMShear Stress
ExperimentDilation

20

Shear Stress, MPa

n =10 MPa, JRC =10,


JCS =100 MPa,
L=0.3 m, L ref =0.1 m

0.2

(b)

0.2

Shear Displacement, mm

Shear Stress, MPa

0.3

n =3 MPa, JRC=10, JCS =100 MPa,


L=0.3 m, L ref =0.1 m

Dilation, mm

Dilation, mm

Shear Stress, MPa

0.25

ExperimentShear Stress
FEMShear Stress
ExperimentDilation
FEMDilation

0.5

0.5

n =1 MPa, JRC =10,


JCS =100 MPa, L=0.3 m,
L ref=0.1 m

0
0

0.5

1.5

Shear Displacement, mm

(d)

Fig. 7: Comparison of shear stress and dilation vs. displacement between the numerical model and Barton experimental data for
the effect of normal stress.

Despite the large amount of experimental data for shear behaviour of a single fracture, not enough experimental works have been
carried out to investigate the mechanical deformation of a composite fracture/rock or a jointed rock system. Kulatilake et al.(26)
conducted a series of laboratory experiments on jointed material
blocks. His experimental results are used here to validate the proposed shear model for the jointed rock. The jointed blocks were a
mixture of plaster, sand and water, which were carefully mixed, cast
and cured. Approximately 15 wooden frames were constructed to
use as moulds to prepare prismatic-jointed block samples with different joint geometry configurations.
To model stress-strain behaviour of the jointed rock, one
needs to know both the properties of the intact rock as well as
the embedded joints. The average intact rock Poissons ratio, compressive strength and Youngs modulus are 0.24, 5.15 mPa and
1,100 mPa respectively.
Unfortunately not enough measurements were performed to
obtain physical properties of all the joints. The only available experimental data is the normal stress-normal strain of a jointed rock.
It contains a single-horizontal joint, subjected to uniaxial vertical
loading as shown in Fig. 8. Bandiss normal deformation model
with kni=0.55 mPa/mm and vm=1.22 mm in Equation (2) appeared
to be the best fit for the experimental data. JCS and JRC are usually estimated by Schmidt hammer and tilt tests in the laboratory;
however, the experimental data did not include such measurements.
JCS can take a maximum value of the intact rocks compressive
strength when the joint faces are completely mated and nonweathered [Barton and Choubey(12)]. However, in this case study the surfaces were not fully matched because the two slabs of the joints
were moulded separately.
September 2010, Volume 49, No. 9

From Equations (27), (28) and the initial aperture size of


1.4mm, the initial guesses for JCS and JRC were obtained to be
4mPa and 4.4, respectively. Because no two real joints are the same
in terms of their physical properties, the resulting simulation data
based on the previously described joint properties will not necessarily match all experimental data.
Fig. 9 shows a picture of the experimental setup as well as the
grid geometry used for modelling the jointed block stress-strain
behaviour with the finite element technique. Four elements, each
containing two conjugate joints, comprise the numerical model.
6

Normal Stress, MPa

Jointed Rock

n
Experiment
Bandis Model Fit

4
3
2
1
0
0

0.5

Normal Displacement, mm
Fig. 8: Normal stress-normal displacement behaviour of a
single horizontal joint under uniaxial vertical loading.

83

No shear effect

Axial Stress, MPa

30 cm

10-10

5-5
3

20-20

15-15

1
0

0.005

0.01

0.015

0.02

Axial Strain

Fig. 10: Stress-strain behaviour comparison between jointed


blocks having symmetric joint configurations without
considering the shear effect.

z
x

Fig. 9: A schematic of the sample jointed block divided into


four vertical elements for numerical modelling [picture from
Kulatilake et al.(26)].

The model is first initialized for the initial stresses caused by the
block weight (body force) and then the strain vector is zeroed. At
low-stress levels, joint deformation is so sensitive to the stress
variation that even the weight of the blocks can lead to a change
in the aperture of the joints. The experimental setup in Fig. 9 indicates the direction along which the jointed block is uniaxially compressed and also how it is freed in lateral directions. It is assumed
that the bottom face is fixed in the z-direction and only a quarter
of the whole block is modelled to take advantage of the lack of displacement boundaries in the vertical planes of symmetry.
Fig. 10 shows the comparison between the experimental data
for four jointed blocks with different joint dip angles, 5 5, 10
10, 15 15 and 20 20, and the numerical model which did
not consider the joints shear effect. Fig. 11 presents the same experimental data in comparison with a model which accounts for the
shear effects, using the method developed here. Fig. 11 indicates
how much better matches can be obtained if the joint shear effect
is accounted for. This deviation in the match caused by neglecting
the shear effects is more noticeable for joints with a larger dipping
angle. The joint properties used to obtain the match for each jointed
block are listed in Table 1.
6

With shear effect

Axial Stress, MPa

At relatively high-axial stresses in the previously described experiments, Kulatilake et al.(26) reported the main failure mechanism
as tensile fracturing through the intact model material. This failure
mode is also known as the splitting mode. At higher joint dip angles, they also found that a mixed failure mechanism of both intact
rock tensile failure and shear failure of joints were responsible for
the failure of the jointed blocks. Modelling of this behaviour is beyond the scope of this study.
For blocks containing dip angle sets of 5 5, 10 10 and
15 15, as shown in Table 1, the input values for the maximum
joint closure are not the same. This indicates how initial assemblage
of the jointed block constituents can affect the initial aperture and
consequently the maximum deformation of the joints. An abnormal
behaviour is observed in a stress-strain diagram of the sample
20 20. The experimental data shows that in this case, both initial-normal and shear stiffness of the rock are of large magnitude.
From Equation (5), lower JRC results in lower peak shear displacement, which will increase the prepeak shear stiffness at lower stress
levels. It seems that in this jointed block sample (20 20), the embedded joints physical properties are quite different from the physical properties of the sample tested joint.

Conclusions

The stress-strain behaviour of a single-joint and jointed rock depends considerably on the state of stress, is anisotropic and is
nonlinear. For a jointed rock, such deformation behaviour can be
estimated from the summation of the deformations in the solid rock
and the joints in the form of equivalent moduli of pseudocontinuum.
In this paper a new hyperbolic model to estimate the relationship between shear stress and shear displacement of a single joint
is presented and confirmed by experimental data and numerical

5-5
10-10

20-20

TABLE 1JOINT PROPERTIES USED IN NUMERICAL


MODELLING OF DIFFERENT JOINTED BLOCKS

15-15

Dip Angles

JRC =
1

JCS (Mpa) =
Lref (m) =

0
0

0.005

0.01

0.015

0.02

0.025

0.03

Axial Strain

Fig. 11: Stress-strain behaviour comparison between jointed


blocks having symmetric joint configurations with shear effect
[picture and experimental data from Kulatilake et al.(26)].
84

55

1010

1515

2020

4.4

4.4

4.4

0.6

0.13

0.13

0.13

0.13

b =

22

22

22

24

aj (mm) =

0.2

0.4

0.55

0.6

vmax (mm) =

0.15

0.37

0.49

0.55

Kni (MPa/mm) =

0.7

1.0

0.4

0.075

0.075

0.075

0.075

Spacing (m) =

Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology

studies. A 3D elastic nonlinear joints constitutive relationship for


a joint in matrix form has been developed and applied in the FEM
code to predict the mechanical behaviour of a single joint as well
as of a jointed rock.
An inherent simplification always exists in pseudocontinuum
modelling of jointed rocks because the real joints in a joint set do
not have exactly the same physical properties. An accurate modelling would require all the existing joints to be tested for their physical properties, which is impossible.
In this study we have shown how the aperture variation of joints
in jointed rocks caused by different loading conditions can be obtained. Future continuation of this study will first consider the
effect of joint post-peak shear behaviour on the mechanical properties of the jointed rock and then investigate the effect of changes
in joint aperture on the hydraulic conductivity of the jointed rock.
The final goal will be to use these techniques to predict the development of shear fracturing during stimulation and subsequent production of tight gas wells.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of NSERC


and of the industry consortium for research in geomechanical fracturing at the University of Calgary. Thanks also go to JCPT for accepting our paper in the journal.

Nomenclature

A = area
b = body force vector
d o = dilation angle
D = material stiffness matrix
F = material compliance matrix, D1
f = force vector
JRC = joint roughness coefficient
JCS = joint compressive strength
kn = fracture normal stiffness
ks = fracture shear stiffness
kt = fracture tangential stiffness
K = stiffness matrix in finite element
L = length
N = shape function matrix
P = pressure
Sf = fracture spacing
t = traction force
T = fracture transformation matrix
u = displacement
V = volume
W = width

aB = Biot constant

g = shear displacement
gcoef = dilation initiation coefficient

d = shear displacement

Dvj = joint closure

e = strain, strain tensor
vm = maximum joint closure

s = normal stress, stress tensor

t = shear stress

fb = basic friction angle

fr = residual friction angle

W = controlled volume

W = boundary of controlled volume

References
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September 2010, Volume 49, No. 9

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85

SPE

26. Kulatilake, P.H.S.W., Liang, J., and Gao, H. 2001. Experimental and
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PROJECTS,
FACILITIES &

CONSTRUCTION

This paper (2009-059) was accepted for presentation at the 10th Canadian
International Petroleum Conference (the 60th Annual Technical Meeting of
the Petroleum Society), Calgary, 1618 June, 2009, and revised for publication. Original manuscript received for review 26 June 2009. Revised paper
received for review 13 June 2010. Paper peer approved 15 June 2010 as SPE
Paper 140119.

Authors Biographies
Mohammad Nassir is a Ph.D. candidate in
petroleum engineering at the University of
Calgary. In his Ph.D. research, he has focused
on geo-mechanical aspects of fractured reservoirs, especially fracture shear behaviour associated with high-pressure fluid injection.
He holds an M. Eng. degree from the University of Calgary in petroleum engineering and
a B.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from
Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran.
He is a member of SPE.

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Antonin (Tony) Settari holds the Encana/Petroleum Society of CIM endowed chair in petroleum engineering at the University of
Calgary, and is among the principals in
TAURUS Reservoir Solutions Ltd., a hightechnology simulation consulting firm in
Calgary. He works primarily in reservoir simulation and engineering, hydraulic fracturing
and reservoir geomechanics. He is a co-author of a classical textbook on petroleum reservoir simulation (by Aziz and Settari) and has written over 120
technical publications. He previously worked for Intercomp Inc. and
founded SIMTECH Consulting Services in 1983 and TAURUS Reservoir Solutions Ltd. in 2000. He holds a B.Sc. degree from the Technical University of Brno in Czechoslovakia and a Ph.D. degree in
mechanical engineering from the University of Calgary. His SPE activities include serving on the editorial board of JPT, as a technical
and as distinguished lecturer (1989 and 2000). Settari became a distinguished member of SPE in 2003 and received the SPE Anthony B.
Lucas Gold Medal in 2008. In 2009, he received the Eni Prize Frontiers in Hydrocarbons.
Richard Wan is a professor of civil engineering with the University of Calgary. His
research interests are in numerical and constitutive modelling of geomaterials, micromechanics, failure issues such as material
instability and experimental mechanics and
biomedical engineering. Wan was awarded
the R.J Melosh medal in finite element modelling from Duke University, North Carolina.
He holds a civil engineering degree from
cole Nationale des Travaux Publics de ltat, in France, an M.Sc.
degree in geotechnical engineering from the University of Ottawa
and a Ph.D. degree in geomechanics from the University of Alberta.
He is member of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, the International Society for Rock Mechanics and APEGGA.

Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology