Cohesive zone models

Panos Papanastasiou, Ernestos Sarris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents the use of the cohesive zone model as a fracture propagation criterion in nonlinear finite element analyses with application in hydraulic fracturing. The influence of the main parameters of the cohesive zone model on the hydraulic fracturing results is examined. It is shown that the size of the process zone in hydraulic fracturing is affected by the loading branch of the cohesive constitutive model with the elastic-softening to result in much larger process zone than the rigid-softening model. The exact form of the softening branch of the cohesive model has no significant influence on the obtained results. The existence of the confining stresses increases the size of the process zone. The changes in the pore pressure, during fracturing, increase further the size of the process zone. In all cases, the larger process zone imposes a bigger fluid lag resulting in higher net pressure for propagating a fracture and the created fracture is wider.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPorous Rock Fracture Mechanics
Subtitle of host publicationWith Application to Hydraulic Fracturing, Drilling and Structural Engineering
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780081007822
ISBN (Print)9780081007815
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohesive zone
  • Finite element analysis
  • Fracture propagation
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Net pressures
  • Poroelasticity
  • Process zone

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