The projects undertaken by FAST are determined by an industry member voting process. Although the projects are broken out individually, several of them have overlapping components and serve to support each other. Consortium members are encouraged to lend their expertise to projects that specifically interest them and work closely with the students. New voting phases (and associated projects) are initiated as projects are completed and funding allows.

Current FAST Projects Include

Proppant Transport in Complex Fracture Systems

Proppant transport has been studied in single slot (fracture) systems in the laboratory. This project takes such work a step farther by using complex slot systems with various angles. Transport into these secondary and tertiary systems is studied using a variety of fracturing fluids and proppant types.

Proppant Transport in horizontal wellbores

Proppant transport in the horizontal wellbore can have an impact on a variety of treating and post-production results. How the proppant transports, or rather doesn’t, in between perforation clusters has impacts on the ultimate fracture conductivity and production potential. This project focuses on studying proppant transport in a laboratory setting with various proppant types and fluid systems.

fiber-optics flow loop system

FAST, in conjunction with the Reservoir Characterization Project (RCP) and the Mines’ Fiber-Optics group is studying the use of distributed temperature and acoustic sensing under various flow conditions. Both vertical and horizontal flow loops are being used. An “in-ground” horizontal flow loop at the Edgar Mine will soon join the study.

well-to-well hydraulic fracturing interference studies using 3d modeling

Well-to-well interference, i.e. parent-child interference, during hydraulic fracturing is an ongoing and well-established issue in the industry. This project is using 3D, multi-well fracture modeling, coupled with 3D geomodels to determine impacts on vertical well spacing and treatment timing.


Machine learning and other data science tools can provide insight into multiple aspects of completions, stimulation and production practices. This project uses such tools to provide understanding into member-provided data sets to further our understanding of various techniques and applications.

Performance of lactic acid in stimulation

Lactic acid has shown promise as a stimulation process for certain reservoirs. This study consists of laboratory investigations into the use of lactic acid in carbonate systems as a singular treatment fluid, as well as in the presence of other acid systems.

laboratory investigation of process zone stresses in unconventional reservoirs

Process zone stress, first identified by Shell researchers in the 1980’s, is known by various terms included net extension stress and tip effects. Process zone stress has been shown to impact numerous areas of reservoir development including hydraulic fracture growth control, as well as indications of producing potential. This project aims to study these behavior in shale reservoir systems through laboratory testing.

probabilistic approach to reserves estimation in unconventional reservoirs

Monte Carlo simulation, coupled with artificial neural networks (ANN), is being used to determine unconventional reservoir production behaviors. Once trained the ANN’s are showing promise at predicting production behaviors and reserve recoveries in certain shale reservoirs.

particulate diversion experimental study

Using the Mines’ PE Department’s lost circulation lab, experiments are being conducted on particulate diverters to determine size distribution, pressure drop and temperature impacts on diversion effectiveness.

Non-Darcy flow effects

This project focuses on laboratory studies of non-Darcy and multiphase flow effects on proppant pack conductivity, which can account for a significant portion of the disparity between propped fracture half-length and the effective flow capacity of a given fracture. Historically, non-Darcy flow effects have been considered a high rate issue, but this is not always the case and can severely affect the conductivity and productivity of hydraulic fractures in all cases.

Past FAST Projects Include

Hydraulic Fracture Height Growth and Containment Mechanisms

Hydraulic Fracture Reorientation

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Stimulation

Slickwater Fracture Treatments

Formation Face Fracturing Damage and Gel Clean-up Processes

Surface Monitoring of Hydraulic Fractures

Shale Rock Mechanical Properties and Damage Mechanisms

Matrix Imbibition of Shale Gas Reservoirs

Determination of Correct Multiphase Correlations for BHP Calculations

Determination of Well Clean Up Characteristics through Produced Fluid/Solids Analysis

Application of Pump-Shutdown Signals as a Fracture Diagnostic Tool