Numerical Approach to Fracture Spacing in Two Layered Material
Equally spaced opening-mode fractures always evolve in top layer attached to underlying layer. With a newly developed Material Failure Process Analysis code (MFPA2D), we have firstly investigated the stress distribution between two adjacent fractures as a function of the fracture-spacing-to-layer-thickness ratio using a two-layer model with a fractured top layer. The numerical results indicate the horizontal stress perpendicular to the fractures near the top surface changes from tensile to compressive when the fracture-spacing-to-layer-thickness ratio changes from greater than to less than a critical value. Then, the process from fracture initiation to fracture saturation is numerically modeled. The modeling of fracture process shows that the fractures initiate at the top surface and propagate to the interface between the two layers in the first stage. In the following stage, new fractures can infill between the earlier formed fractures and they always initiate at the interface and propagate to the top surface. Numerical simulation clearly demonstrates that the stress state transition precludes further infilling of fractures and the fracture spacing reaches a constant state, i.e. the so-called fracture saturation.
Young-Jin Kim, Dong-Ho Bae and Yun-Jae Kim
X. Chang et al., "Numerical Approach to Fracture Spacing in Two Layered Material ", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 297-300, pp. 750-755, 2005