How to frack into and out of trouble
3rd May 2018, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Physics, Mott Lecture Theatre
After a short introduction to the mechanism and politics of fracking, the talk will concentrate on the fluid mechanics and elastodynamics of driving fluid into cracks in rocks. We will present the equations governing this response and also that when the pressure is released, and the system relaxes back partially towards equilibrium. The two main techniques for evaluating the consequences of the governing equations are numerical solutions and asymptotic analysis in certain useful limits, both of which we will describe. Videos of laboratory experiments will also be shown and the results compared with the theoretical predictions. While fracking is one motivating example of our analysis, the mathematics and physical responses described undoubtedly has applications to other areas of geophysics.