Discrete element modeling of grain crushing and implications on reservoir compaction Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018 Elsevier B.V. Depletion-induced formation compaction is a concern for production in hydrocarbon reservoirs. In this study, numerical mechanical tests and digital samples are proposed as an alternative to uniaxial strain experiments for investigating the effects of compaction. We propose a grain crushing model with two-sized subgrains based on the discrete element method and bonded-particle model (DEM-BPM) and perform numerical single grain crushing tests to calibrate the model parameters against the experimental sand grain characteristic strength. Numerical uniaxial strain tests are used to predict porosity and permeability reduction caused by reservoir compaction. Grain crushing incurs a significant reduction of porosity under the uniaxial strain stress path, which becomes more evident for digital samples consisting of larger grains. The stress-dependent changes in porosity and permeability obtained from the DEM simulations can be used as inputs for a reservoir-scale correlation to predict the productivity loss due to reservoir compaction.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sun, Z., Tang, H., Espinoza, D. N., Balhoff, M. T., & Killough, J. E.

citation count

  • 12

publication date

  • December 2018