A laboratory experiment was conducted to study hydraulic fracturing in an impermeable material (PMMA). Quantitative experimental data were obtained to compare with numerical predictions for a simple hydraulic fracture treatment that is not complicated by the effects of fluid leak-off and proppant transport. The borehole pressure, the pressure in the fracture at three locations, the fracture width at one location, and the fracture length were measured as functions of time during propagation of a vertically contained hydraulic fracture. The experimental data are compared with the predictions of simple solutions and the results indicate that when the finite width of the laboratory model is included in the analysis, the comparison between theory and experiment is quite good. The results also indicate that the assumption of a uniform pressure distribution in the fracture is adequate to accurately predict the critical parameters (fracture width and length) even when the fracturing fluid is very viscous.

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