Smoothed embedded finite-volume method (sEFVM) for modeling contact mechanics in deformable faulted and fractured porous media

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A smoothed embedded finite-volume modeling (sEFVM) method is presented for faulted and fractured heterogeneous poroelastic media. The method casts a fully coupled strategy to treat the coupling between fault slip mechanics, deformation mechanics, and fluid flow equations. This ensures the stability and consistency of the simulation results, especially, as the fault slip is implicitly found through an iterative prediction-correction procedure. The computational grid is generated independently for embedded faults and rock matrix. The efficiency is further enhanced by extending the finite-volume discrete space by introducing only one degree of freedom per fault element. The embedded approach can lead to an oscillatory stress field at the fault, which damages the robustness of the implicit slip detection strategy. To resolve this challenge, a smoothed embedded strategy is devised, in which the stress and slip profiles are post processed within the iterative loops by fitting the best curve based on a least-square error criterion. The sEFVM provides locally conservative mass flux and stress fields, on staggered grid. Its performance is further investigated for several proof-of-the-concept test cases, including a multiple fault system in a heterogeneous domain. Results indicate that the method develops a promising approach for field-scale relevant simulation of induced seismicity.