Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Ever J. Barbero.


Oil well industry has been using hydraulic fracturing to open new channels and thus increase well productivity. Materials known as Proppants are injected into the fracture to keep the channels conductive after the applied hydraulic pressure is removed. But the proppants used to date are often crushed under the influence of rock closures, which leads to clogging of the channel.;The main objective of this study was to model a material that would be able to withstand the rock closure stresses and also remain conductive. A three-dimensional finite element model was developed to study the effects of the shape and the arrangement of inclusions (voids) in the material. Spherical and cylindrical inclusions were studied. Three different void arrangements were simulated, namely random, cubic and Fermat. Strength and Permeability analysis were performed separately.;The cubic array arrangement of inclusions exhibits high permeability and low stress concentration. The random array exhibits low permeability and high stress concentrations. Fermat array was a realistic arrangement where the values of permeability and stress were bound by those corresponding to cubic and random array. The high stress concentrations prompted studying of crumbling. Crumbling analysis was performed to study the effect of crumbling of thin slivers.