A new computational model could potentially boost efficiencies and profits in natural gas production by better predicting previously hidden fracture mechanics while accurately accounting for the known amounts of gas released during the process. By considering the closure of preexisting fractures caused by tectonic events in the distant past and taking into account water seepage forces not previously considered, researchers from Northwestern Engineering and Los Alamos developed a new mathematical and computational model that shows how branches form off vertical cracks during the fracking process, allowing more natural gas to be released. The model is the first to predict this branching while being consistent with the known amount of gas released from the shale during this process. The new model could potentially increase the industry‚Äôs efficiency. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Our model is far more realistic than current models […]