Oil Shale Fracture Characterization by a New Model

by Ken P. Chong, Univ of Wyoming, Dep of Civil, Engineering, Laramie, WY, USA,
Mahinda D. Kuruppu, Univ of Wyoming, Dep of Civil, Engineering, Laramie, WY, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Rock Masses: Modeling of Underground Openings/Probability of Slope Failure/Fracture of Intact Rock


Fracture toughness of oil shale is a property which is essential for fracture characterization needed for energy resource development and recovery. However, a data base for fracture toughness is still nonexistent. Oil shale is a layered material more accurately characterized as transversely isotropic. The senior author proposes to use a semi-circular core specimen with an edge crack subjected to three-point bending, in order to overcome extensive machining and other difficulties associated with using standard fracture mechanics test specimens for testing rock. The effect of crack length on the normalized stress intensity factor for the proposed geometry is investigated by strain energy method, ellipse method, and stress method. The fracture load is obtained by compressing the specimen to failure. The fracture toughness is determined for different oil yields for Utah oil shales using compliance and other methods.

Subject Headings: Energy methods | Oils | Shale | Cracking | Field tests | Materials characterization | Energy recovery | Recycling | Utah | United States

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